This week, the Florida delegation, led by US Rep. Darren Soto and US Rep. Ted Yoho wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, requesting the USDA increase funding for orange juice purchases in Florida to $90 million, doubling the initial allocation from this past summer.
After Hurricane Irma, Florida’s orange production dropped from 68.7 million boxes in 2017 to 45 million boxes in 2018. In response, local juice processors purchased a large number of Brazilian oranges. This year, Florida orange groves bounced back and produced 71.4 million boxes.
Now, Florida faces a short-term oversupply of oranges for 2020 which will cause a sharp drop in the estimated price from $2.60 to $1.60 per box which could put many local citrus growers out of business. In response, Soto and Yoho are led the letter to protect these growers from an expected one year glut.