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Florida could see smallest citrus crop in 50 years

According to some, Florida is looking to have one of the worst citrus crops in a long time, due to the worsening effects of citrus greening. Crop disease and slowing demand continue to threaten what used to be a signature industry in the sunshine state.

The state’s orange crop is poised to shrink to what could be the smallest harvest in five decades, according to Judy Ganes-Chase, president of J. Ganes Consulting in Panama City, Panama. There are signs that processors are handling less fruit than projected, underscoring why production could fall short of government estimates, she said.

For the season that ends on Sept. 30, Florida’s crop could fall short of government expectations by as much as 6 million boxes, Ganes-Chase estimates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its previous report and projects a one million box reduction in the state’s orange crop to 70 million boxes. That’s after last month’s forecast also predicted a decrease.  

“Today’s forecast reflects a true utilization of early, mid-season, and Navel varieties,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, in a statement.

Last month, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam noted that “production of our state’s signature crop is down 70 percent from 20 years ago.”

“The future of Florida citrus, and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports, depends on a long-term solution in the fight against greening,” he said in a statement.

Publication date: 2/13/2017


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