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Florida's citrus troubles drive up orange juice prices

Orange growers in Florida are facing what's forecast to be their smallest crop in 90 years. The state is expected to produce 18 million 90-pound boxes of juicing oranges this year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast last month. That's less than half of last year's crop and a 93% decline from the 1998 peak, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, the existing short supply of Florida oranges is already driving orange juice prices up. Not-from-concentrate juice now costs more than $10 a gallon, up roughly 20% from 2016. And a poor harvest will further squeeze growers still struggling to recover from two hurricanes last year.

On top of that, since about 2005, farmers have had to fight citrus greening, a hard-to-manage disease that's spread by a flying insect and causes fruit to drop prematurely from trees.


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