The Florida Citrus industry is in crisis. We have been hit with challenge after challenge, including greening, hurricanes, increasing imports and decreasing consumer demand. As chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, my priority focus has been on addressing demand, the result being a new marketing campaign designed to drive sales of 100% orange juice, which is launching throughout this month.
This season, the Commission voted to allow the option to accelerate the spending of funds built up over the years that traditionally were reserved for use in the case of a catastrophic event. This decision to spend in one year what was initially expected to last multiple years underscores the urgency of our current situation and our commitment to tap into every available resource to support our industry as effective marketing comes with a significant price tag.
But the Commission’s responsibility to our growers is to be extremely thoughtful in how we use these funds, including having rigorous measurement in place to determine the program’s effectiveness through data, facts and insights that take time to collect and analyze. As our current marketing campaign rolls out, we are assessing its effectiveness in real-time, making decisions on where an increased spend would have the greatest impact on our goal of driving sales of 100% orange juice.
Commission approval to spend an additional $2 million in support of the campaign requires the knowledge that doing so will be beneficial to growers and provide assurance that we will make it through another year and lay the foundation for the future of our industry.
J. Ned Hancock
Chairman, Florida Citrus Commission