May 10, 2018 by Newsroom Editor
USDA: Florida Orange and Grapefruit production dip slightly
BARTOW – Both Florida Orange and Grapefruit production dipped slightly in the latest forecast released Thursday by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The USDA’s May report estimates Florida Orange production for 2017-18 at 44.95 million boxes, a 50,000 box decrease from last month. Florida Grapefruit production was also reduced by 50,000 boxes, to 3.95 million boxes. The reductions were in Navel oranges and white grapefruit, according to the USDA.
“With everything Florida Citrus growers have gone through this year, we consider today’s forecast to be relatively stable and not unexpected,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “This is an industry choosing to remain optimistic about the future. And part of that optimism comes from the support we’ve received from policy makers, industry and consumers.”
Hurricane Irma had a devastating impact on the Florida Citrus industry. Florida growers reported 30 to 70 percent crop loss after Hurricane Irma’s landfall on September 10, with the southwest region of the state receiving the most damage. The hurricane uprooted trees and left many groves sitting in standing water for up to three weeks, potentially damaging the root systems and impacting future seasons’ growth.
In October, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that Florida Citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages due to Hurricane Irma. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed federal disaster recovery relief as part of a larger spending bill in February. In April, the USDA announced it will begin implementing disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion in response to 2017 hurricanes and wildfires.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, Florida was expected to produce about 75 million boxes of oranges this season, according to private estimates.
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 45,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $8.6 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.