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Florida’s struggling citrus industry is projected to see a 3.3 percent increase in production in the newly started growing season.

A healthy orange from a grove in Bowling Green, Florida.
Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Researchers at the University of Florida released a study this month in the journal Phytopathology, saying there's a way to more quickly and efficiently kill bacteria that causes citrus greening disease.

Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.
Flikr / Creative Commons

By Jim Turner/ News Service of Florida

Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.

But struggles remain.

Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.
Flikr / Creative Commons

News Service Of Florida

Amid ongoing struggles in Florida's citrus industry, the Department of Citrus appears to be turning attention to studying orange juice consumption.

The department said Tuesday it is looking for three separate studies that would assess various aspects of orange juice consumption, including how it can affect people’s moods when drinking it as a snack.

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 dying citrus grove in Lake Alfred
Robin Sussingham / WUSF

When Adam Putnam announced his candidacy for Governor of the state of Florida last year, he stood on the steps of the stately old Polk County courthouse in Bartow in front of a cheering crowd , with the American flag waving, the state song playing -- and crates of oranges lining the stage.


Orange Crop Numbers Remain Steady

Feb 9, 2019
Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.
Flikr / Creative Commons

Florida’s orange crop forecast has held steady since the end of 2018, while projections for other types of citrus have been reduced.

Citrus Growers Get A Dose Of Good News

Oct 12, 2018

A year after Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida’s citrus industry, growers are on pace to slightly surpass their production from two years ago.

Florida Citrus Mutual

As a new citrus growing season gets underway, federal assistance tied to the hurricane-ravaged 2017-2018 harvest is finally moving into the application phase.

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 Sign Off On Money For Citrus Farmers

Jul 20, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott said the state will “soon” begin accepting applications from citrus farmers whose crops and groves were damaged by Hurricane Irma, after the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Thursday accepted $357 million in federal funding for the industry.

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. 

Florida's citrus growers are blaming Hurricane Irma for one of their worst seasons in decades.

In a Naples Daily News report , U.S. agriculture officials said Florida's orange production dropped nearly 35 percent from the previous season. Grapefruit production was half of what it was last year.

State Offers Framework For Pot Licenses

May 2, 2018

More than six months after an Oct. 3 deadline to issue new medical-marijuana licenses, the Florida Department of Health has released a proposed rule outlining an application process for potential operators in what could be one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

The federal government will provide $340 million to help Florida citrus farmers recover from Hurricane Irma.

Wikimedia Commons

Pressure is growing from Florida and other states as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to determine how to move forward with a disaster-relief package President Donald Trump signed in early February.

Lynne Sladky/AP

Thousands of Florida homeowners who had healthy citrus trees cut down by the state are finally going to get paid for their losses.

Florida Citrus Mutual

Florida citrus farmers are praising the passage of the spending bill in the U.S. Congress.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Larry Black's family has grown oranges at the Peace River Packing Company for five generations.

 Driving through his groves in Fort Meade, Black points out all of the trees that are infected with the disease known as greening. 

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.

Putnam: Citrus Industry Squeezed If Congress Doesn't Help

Dec 13, 2017
Florida Citrus Mutual

No “plan B” is available if Congress does not add citrus funding to the latest disaster relief package, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

A day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture further reduced a forecast of the post-Hurricane Irma orange harvest, Putnam reiterated the need for federal assistance to the struggling industry, which could see damages from the storm top $1 billion.

Citrus Forecast Drop Spurs More Calls For Federal Relief

Dec 12, 2017
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Congressman Darren Soto say retaliatory tariffs on American goods are hurting Florida farmers.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida agriculture leaders say the latest projected decline in citrus production underscores a dire need for federal disaster relief after Hurricane Irma.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated Tuesday that Florida will grow enough oranges to fill a decades-low 46 million 90-pound boxes, 8 percent less than in a November estimate. Meanwhile, grapefruit production held at 4.65 million boxes in the November to December estimates.

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. 

A cold snap is bringing freezing temperatures to Florida this weekend. But one citrus scientist says the state’s embattled growers shouldn’t see much damage. 

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. 

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

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.

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.

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