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agriculture

Citrus greening shrinks the size of oranges.
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Citrus has shaped the state’s identity for 100 years. But it has been a tough ten years with freezes, hurricanes, development pressure and, worst of all, citrus greening.

This week on Florida Matters we take a deep dive into the state of Florida’s citrus industry.


The Durrance family has grown citrus in Hardee County since the 1800s. Pictured ileft to right: Howard Trammell; husband and wife Jessica and Ian Durrance with their children Jessi, Luke, Wess and Reed; Clara Durrance; Julie Durrance; and Danny Durrance.
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Some Florida citrus growers are finally starting to see an increase of orange production. Those who managed to stick around as the greening disease ravaged their groves have been experimenting with different variations of trees, expensive chemicals and fertilizers. 

A bin of red tomatoes.
USDA/Wikimedia Commons

Mexico's Economy Department says U.S. consumers could pay 38% to 70% more for tomatoes after the U.S. Commerce Department announced it would re-impose anti-dumping duties on Mexican imports.

Agriculture Industry Takes Big Hit In Hurricane

Nov 12, 2018

Florida’s agriculture industry suffered nearly $1.49 billion in damages from Hurricane Michael, with timber growers the hardest hit, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Friday. 

Hurricane Michael toppled beehives and stripped flowering plants across Florida's Panhandle, threatening tupelo honey production in a tiny community that is the primary source of the sweet delicacy.

WLRN

The race for governor is not the only statewide political contest during primary season. Republicans and Democrats will also choose their favorite candidate to run for the state's top consumer watchdog: the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Lawmakers Poised To Approve Citrus Farmer Money

Jul 19, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday urged the Joint Legislative Budget Commission to approve $340 million in federal block grant funding to help the state’s hurricane-ravaged citrus industry. 

Scott Urges Quick Action On Agriculture Aid

Apr 12, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott is asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to move quickly to get disaster-relief funding into the hands of Florida citrus growers, as it may be another three months before farmers can start to apply for the money.

Florida's citrus industry got some dire news Tuesday from an organization that advises the federal government on science and technical matters.

Federal agriculture officials are now making a couple billion dollars available to growers, including those in Florida who were affected by Hurricane Irma... seven months after the storm. 

A program to distribute federal disaster aid to Florida farmers hit by Hurricane Irma will be set up within the next 100 days, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Friday.

House Eyes Tax Help For Agriculture Industry

Feb 1, 2018

Florida’s Hurricane Irma-battered agriculture industry, growing anxious as it awaits federal disaster relief, could land some help from the state House as part of a tax-cut package.

Irma Contributing To Florida's Declining Citrus Forecast

Jan 16, 2018

The Florida orange usually fares well during the winter weather, but recent numbers show citrus crops were not able to weather hurricane Irma’s storm.

As we bundle up for the chilly weather we're experiencing, you may want to do the same for your plants.


The cold front that moved through Florida this past weekend brought a light dusting of snow in some portions of the western Panhandle and even some light frost in Southwest Florida, but the cooler temperatures left Florida agriculture operations relatively unscathed. 

55,000 agriculture-related jobs are in danger in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to a recent University of Florida analysis. Economist and study author Alan Hodges says the storms’ impacts to Florida’s growers are unprecedented. Because the state's second largest industry depends on so many other suppliers and distributors, and fuels so many local economies, Hodges says the ripple effects are not limited to growers alone. 

Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.

Florida's $2.5 billion request for federal disaster relief for its agriculture industry after Hurricane Irma might not be enough.

Dave Chapman and dozens of other long-time organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards board in Jacksonville.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

Irma's Agriculture Toll Tops $2.5 Billion

Oct 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma caused more than $2.5 billion in damage to Florida's agriculture industry, with citrus growers and nurseries suffering big losses, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

We're starting something new on Florida Matters. Once a month we're going to gather together some experienced reporters from around the state for perspective on the important news happening in Florida.

This week we're talking about the consequences of Hurricane Irma, and lessons learned from the storm.

With losses total in some areas of the state, Florida’s iconic citrus industry will need Congressional help to recover from Hurricane Irma, according to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

A long wait may be ahead for broad federal relief for Florida's beleaguered citrus industry, “decimated” last week by a lethal hurricane that crossed the peninsula at the start of the growing season, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

Hurricane Irma destroyed farms and groves all around Hendry County. An agriculture expert says 78 percent of the adult population in Hendry works in the ag industry.  Irma damages will affect everyone from growers to grocery stores.

As major Hurricane Irma makes its way to Florida, farmers across the state have to prepare their lands.

State lawmakers want to cut fees for the manufacturers of harmful pesticides. That could make it cheaper for chemical companies to sell their products in the state. But a critic of the measure is worried how the change could affect farmworkers’ health.

Scott Young

The disease called citrus greening has wreaked havoc on our state's most iconic industry. Florida is harvesting the smallest citrus crop in 52 years.

State and federal dollars have been pouring into frantic efforts to save groves. Some of the efforts seem to be paying off. But is it too late for the small family farms?


Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A ceremonial seed planting will be part of today's official opening of the Veterans' Garden, 918 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa,  across from Lowry Park Zoo.

The event is set for 10:30 a.m. and will include recognition of USAA, which provided  a grant to expand the sustainable garden for veterans.

Robin Sussingham

You hear a lot of bad news about Florida's agriculture industry. Competition from foreign markets, labor shortages, insects, the loss of farmland to development. And most seriously, the disease of citrus greening, which has devastated Florida's signature crop.

But surprisingly, young people aren't shying away from agriculture education in their schools. In fact, participation is at record highs.

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