From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its citrus crop forecast for the 2015-2016 season:
“Today’s USDA citrus crop forecast, even though unchanged, illustrates the dire state of Florida citrus. Without immediate and tangible support, citrus’ place in Florida history might just become that – history. I am dedicated to using every tool in the toolbox to save the industry, its more than $10.7 billion economic impact and the more than 64,000 jobs it supports.”
In addition, Commissioner Putnam recently announced a multifaceted plan to provide Florida growers with more immediate support until a permanent solution is developed. That plan includes: a state level cost-share program that will help the industry eliminate abandoned groves and the associated host material where the Asian citrus psyllid thrives, providing clarity and consistency in how the greenbelt law is applied by local tax collectors so that growers can make the best land-management decisions without the fear of losing their greenbelt status, and increasing the availability of healthy citrus tree seed and budwood for the industry to replant groves devastated by greening.
The USDA’s forecast of 69 million boxes of oranges, weighing 90 pounds each, represents a decline of more than 71 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.