Florida citrus forecast sours further following Hurricane Ian
Image via AP.

'Growers are focused on recovery and continue to invest in new tools to help rebuild.'

The news for Florida’s citrus industry has gone from bad to worse following Hurricane Ian, with an already historically low forecast shrinking even more after the storm.

The initial U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimate in October already forecast the lowest output since the 1941-42 season, before measuring Ian’s impact. A new report shows another projected 29% drop in orange production, with a 10% cut for grapefruits and a 14% dip for tangerines and tangelos after Ian’s strike.

The USDA now estimates Florida farmers will produce 20 million boxes of Florida oranges — down from an already low 28 million box projection in October. The new estimate includes 13 million boxes of Valencia oranges and 7 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges.

As for grapefruit, the number dropped from an estimated 2 million boxes in October to 1.8 million. That’s made up of 1.62 million boxes of red grapefruit and 180,000 boxes of white grapefruit.

For tangerines and tangelos, the agency projected 600,000 boxes will be produced, down from 700,000.

Mark Hudson, the principal statistician for the USDA, predicted the agency’s already bleak October forecast would drop further once analysts could measure the storm’s impact directly. And Friday’s report bears that out.

Shannon Shepp, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Citrus, reacted to Friday’s report by spelling out the challenges facing Florida’s farmers.

“Florida citrus growers’ commitment to providing high-quality Florida orange juice remains strong as they work tirelessly to address the impacts of severe weather events and citrus greening. The December crop forecast reflects the very real challenges that Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Nicole, and the ongoing impacts of citrus greening have created for growers across the state, but we remain hopeful and motivated to secure the future of our industry,” Shepp said.

“Growers are focused on recovery and continue to invest in new tools to help rebuild. Florida citrus growers are resilient. They have withstood centuries of extreme weather, and this hurricane season is no exception.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • Donald Trump tried to kill DeSantis! ;-(

    December 9, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    Trump has a control of a CIA weather machine, and I think he sent the hurricane to kill DeSantis. But it missed Tallahassee and hit Fort Myers instead.

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