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Florida limes seeing minimal acreage increase

Florida’s lime production began to decrease after the 1984-1985 season consisting of 6,700 acres and producing 1.64 million boxes at a value of $12 million. Limes continued to decline within Florida and saw only 1,900 acres ten years later in the 1994-1995 season which produced 230,000 boxes priced at $2 million dollars. “In 2004-2005 the USDA reported no bearing acres in Florida,” explains Erin Gillespie, Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. “In 2012 the USDA Agricultural Census stated there were 229 acres of lime production out of the 490,000 citrus acres in Florida.”

Many factors led to the decrease of lime production within Florida. Hurricanes hit the state decimating the land. Canker also infected the weakened crop causing an increase in international competition. “Other countries began producing limes at decreased cost, and therefore had the advantage on exports and the international market.”

Florida achieved great success with lime production three decades ago, proving the state has a great subtropical climate in which to grow citrus. “More than likely, we are seeing some explorative interest in developing a small supply,” explains Gillespie, “with approximately 229 acres in current production, adding 5 to 25 acres or even doubling the crop is not going to substantially affect overall supply.”

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