Connect with us
Rick Scott activates a $25 million emergency loan program for citrus growers affected by Hurricane Irma.

Headlines

Stable, still dismal: Citrus forecast low but steady

Recent Florida citrus estimates are steady for the first time since Hurricane Irma struck Florida.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s January estimates reflect no change from December’s, marking the first stable citrus forecast since the storm.

The USDA in October forecasted 54 million boxes of oranges for 2017-2018 production. In November, that forecast dropped to 50 million followed by another decrease in December to 46 million – an estimate that remained for January’s forecast.

And yet, while seemingly stable, the forecasts are dismal.

Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp said the state’s citrus industry still faces its lowest forecast in more than 75 years.

The monthly forecasts are best guesses; the real numbers come after the growing season ends. It’s those figures that tell the story of citrus in Florida.

Along with Irma, the state’s citrus industry has been hit by the citrus greening epidemic. The so-far incurable disease attacks the fruit, causing it to turn green and bitter, and eventually killing the tree.

“While the temporary comfort of a stable forecast gives us a moment to breathe it doesn’t hide the fact that this industry remains in crisis due to the impact of Hurricane Irma,” Shepp said.

In the 2016-2017 season, Florida produced close to 69 million boxes of oranges. Florida growers are looking to the state and federal government for remedy.

“Florida’s iconic citrus industry and its growers continue to struggle with the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Irma,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a separate statement.

“This damage, combined with the cumulative impacts of citrus greening, leaves Florida’s growers in desperate need of support,” he added. “I will continue to work with Gov. (Rick) Scott and leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the relief they need to rebuild and replant.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an $81 billion disaster spending bill. A $2.6 billion agricultural assistance package for Florida growers was included in that bill.

State estimates reported an estimated $2.5 billion crop loss to Florida growers following Irma. The state’s recurring message is that the storm “could not have been more lethal” to Florida citrus.

Scott’s proposed “Securing Florida’s Future” budget recommends $22 million for the Sunshine State’s citrus industry. Lawmakers are sure to address the situation when crafting their own budget this Legislative Session.

Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at dmcauliffe500@gmail.com.

Andrew Gillum Andrew Gillum

Yep, the FBI did f*ck Andrew Gillum

Emails & Opinions

T.K. Wetherell, former House Speaker and FSU president, now in hospice

Headlines

Parkland names pad Ron DeSantis’ public safety panel

Headlines

Brian Mast outlines early path for Ron DeSantis’ algae battle

Influence

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.