Florida’s citrus industry continues to suffer nearly six months after Hurricane Irma devastated the current season’s citrus crop. Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its monthly citrus crop forecast for the 2017-2018 season. It estimates the current crop will yield 45 million boxes. Non-Valencia, Valencia and all grapefruit production estimates are unchanged from the previous forecast. Tangerine and tangelo production is up two percent.
A yield of 45 million boxes would be down 9 million boxes from the 54 million boxes forecast at the beginning of the season. It also represents a drop of more than 80 percent in citrus production since the industry’s peak in the 1997-1998 season (244 million boxes).
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam: “Florida’s citrus growers are still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s unprecedented damage, which today’s forecast shows is still unfolding in many groves six months later. Thankfully, Congress recently provided more than $2.3 billion for agricultural assistance, a critical first step to finally getting Florida’s growers long-awaited and desperately needed relief.”
As explained in an article on thecapitolist.com
, Irma ripped through the Florida back in September making two landfalls–one in the Keys and the other in the Naples area–before moving up the state’s west coast, impacting just about the entire state.