In a recent statement, Rick Dantzler is, chief operating officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), didn’t really talk glowingly about CRDF’s accomplishments. Rather, he started off by telling how far the Florida citrus industry has declined since CRDF was formed in 2009 primarily to find a solution to HLB.
Speaking at Florida Citrus Mutual’s June 8 annual meeting, Dantzler noted that since 2009, Florida citrus acreage has declined from 451,100 to 351,057 acres. In the same time, the number of growers has plummeted from 8,000 to 2,500.
Orange production has tumbled from 133.7 million boxes to 51.7 million boxes and grapefruit production from 20.3 million boxes to 4.4 million boxes, he said. And through that decline, he added, CRDF has spent almost $165 million funding research and development projects, primarily targeted at HLB.