Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget proposes $22 million for the Florida citrus industry.
This includes $5 million supporting Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) marketing programs aimed at educating and increasing awareness among consumers of the health benefits of Florida citrus and Florida orange juice. It also includes $650,000 for new variety research ensuring Americans have access to the citrus long into the future.
Governor Scott said, “Florida has an incredible and iconic citrus industry and following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma, I am fully committed to helping this industry, and the many families that rely on it, fully recover. I am proud to announce more than $21 million for Florida’s world-famous citrus industry, which will support important research opportunities, awareness efforts and ongoing recovery operations. We will continue to fight for Florida’s farmers and their families as we work with the Legislature to pass this significant investment.”
FDOC Executive Director Shannon Shepp said, “Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget recognises the deep legacy of Florida’s citrus industry, and its great contributions to our economy over the years. We couldn’t be more grateful for his commitment to see Florida citrus through our many challenges, and continue our pledge to be present and accountable in all budget actions.”
Gov. Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget highlights:
- $5 million to support marketing programs at the Florida Department of Citrus. These programs provide consumers with information on the nutritional benefits of Florida citrus and Florida orange juice and how it can be part of a healthy lifestyle for them and their families.
- $650,000 to support new varieties research. This funding provides an opportunity to continue research developing new varieties of citrus that are suitable to Florida’s unique climate and sought after by consumers, allowing growers to remain competitive in the global market.
- $10 million to support citrus research on solutions to citrus greening or HLB.
- $7 million for the Citrus Health Response Program, which helps ensure that growers are able to replant healthy citrus trees that were destroyed by Hurricane Irma and helps minimise the spread of citrus greening.
Gov. Scott’s announcement comes as the Florida citrus industry continues to recover from Hurricane Irma, which impacted growers across the state and caused more than $760 million in damages. Growers are expected to produce just 50 million boxes of oranges this season, a drop of 27 percent over last season, with the number expected to reduce further as the full extent of damages are realised.