March citrus crop forecast projects slight decrease in Florida Orange production

The latest forecast projected Florida Oranges at 102 million boxes, kept Florida Grapefruit at 15 million boxes.

BARTOW, Fla. – A report issued Tuesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a slight decrease in the size of this season’s Florida Orange crop, down less than 1 percent from the prior forecast.

The March forecast estimated Florida orange production for the 2014-15 season at 102 million boxes – keeping this year’s forecast slightly below the 2013-2014 season yield.

Florida grapefruit production was projected to remain consistent with prior forecasts at 15 million boxes.

“Citrus greening continues to have a huge impact on our industry,” said Doug Ackerman, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “But, there is also reason for hope. Growers in some parts of the state continue to report positive yields – proof that the hard work and dedication of our industry is making a difference. Together, with targeted research support, we will defeat this disease.”

Last year’s federal Farm Bill is currently funding 22 greening research projects for a total of $30 million. The funding is part of $125 million dedicated to greening research over five years. Adam Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, is seeking $18 million from the state budget to further support the battle against greening.

The FDOC planned its budget for the current season on a yield of 100 million boxes. The Department’s programs continue “full speed ahead,” according to Ackerman.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs nearly 62,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of nearly $10.7 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.