Florida citrus growers celebrate $47M in budget wins
Florida citrus growers are expected to harvest nearly 20 million boxes of oranges this year.

Florida orange juice China
The funding includes several projects to study and combat citrus greening.

With Session wrapped and the budget finalized, Florida’s citrus growers are praising lawmakers for pouring in several big buckets of funding to help the industry.

Florida’s citrus production has struggled in recent years, in part due to significant impact from storms as well as the effects of citrus greening.

Some of the funding available in the Fiscal Year 2024-25 budget will help address production hurdles. A release from Florida Citrus Mutual, the state’s largest citrus grower organization, spotlighted those funding wins in a release following the end of the 2024 Session. They include:

— $18 million for the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Program and Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) to research citrus treatments and therapies.

— $9 million for Florida Department of Citrus marketing to promote the state’s citrus products among consumers and influencers.

— $8.3 million for the Citrus Health Response Program, administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), to help researchers develop new varieties, increase citrus production, and advance technologies to treat and prevent citrus greening.

— $4 million for the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund to supplement grower assessments for citrus inspection.

— $2.7 million for Pest Management through FDACS, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Citrus, to suppress the Asian Citrus Psyllid that causes citrus greening.

— $2 million for the Citrus Recovery Program, administered by the Florida Department of Citrus, to advance technologies that produce tolerance or resistance to citrus greening and produce trees that show tolerance or resistance to citrus greening.

— $2 million for the Citrus Budwood Facility through FDACS to expand the propagation of citrus greening-tolerant or resistant citrus sinensis or citrus sinensis-like budwood trees and seedlings, and for operations and maintenance of the greenhouse.

— $1 million for the Citrus Nursery Automation Cost Share, which provides 80% cost-share funding to citrus tree nurseries for purchase of new equipment that will reduce the cost of trees to growers.

Florida Citrus Mutual Vice President and CEO Matt Joyner also thanked lawmakers for stepping up and supporting the industry.

“From challenges caused by citrus greening, hurricanes and freezes, the story of the Sunshine State’s iconic citrus industry would be regarded as ancient history if it wasn’t for the resiliency and tenacity of Florida citrus growers in recent years,” Joyner said.

“The Florida Legislature’s investments today in research and innovation will support the restoration of Florida’s signature crop to its former glory. We are grateful to Senate President-Designate Ben Albritton, a citrus grower himself, for championing $47 million to support the industry. With Governor (Ron) DeSantis’ approval of this budget, growers and researchers can script the story of a bright future for Florida citrus.”

As Joyner notes, DeSantis does hold line-item veto power over the budget and has a final say over which projects get cut in the end. But given the citrus industry’s challenges in the last several years, the industry is hopeful that the Governor will OK the Legislature’s work on these initiatives to help combat greening and support other projects.

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

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 9, 2024 at 9:32 am

    And now if they could just find some pickers, but Rhonda ran them all off with his “big talk” despite his next-day claims of “no walk”

Comments are closed.


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