Citrus greening, a disease that has already ravaged citrus groves in central and south Florida, has been detected for the first time in north Florida. A tree confirmed to be infected with the disease was discovered in late November in a Leon County homeowner’s backyard.
The USDA recently forecast that Florida growers would produce 47 million boxes of oranges this season, down 11 percent from last season, and 3.8 million boxes of grapefruit; a fraction of the 244 million boxes Florida’s citrus groves produced 25 years ago.
According to islandernews.com, researchers and growers attribute the steep decline to citrus greening, destructive hurricanes and other severe weather exacerbated by climate change, and overseas competition, especially from Brazil.
More money sought for Florida’s struggling citrus industry
As the forecast for Florida’s orange production was lowered, governor. Ron DeSantis proposed increasing state funding for the struggling citrus industry by 5 percent. DeSantis included $29.2 million for the citrus industry as part of a proposed $99.7 billion budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1.