Florida Citrus Industry Could Take Hit from Hurricane Ian

Dan Citrus, Weather

(NSF/TALLAHASSEE/Sept. 28, 2022) — Florida’s already-struggling citrus industry could take a hit from Hurricane Ian. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) said Wednesday that 375,000 acres of citrus groves could be affected by the massive hurricane, including 175,000 acres where hurricane-strength winds are expected and 200,000 acres likely to see tropical storm-force winds.

“When hurricanes hit citrus groves, it’s not always 100 percent of the fruit that will fall off the tree, but storms with stronger winds tend to drop a larger amount of fruit, especially when the storms hit later in the growing season,” Christa Court, a University of Florida economist and director of the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program, said in a prepared statement. “This is why we conduct surveys of producers after such weather events, to assess the short-term impacts to their operations. Depending on the month and the type of commodity, as well as whether the storm brings stronger winds, heavier precipitation, or both, these effects can be minimal to catastrophic.”


Projections showed the storm heading toward the center of the state after making landfall in Southwest Florida. That could affect major citrus-growing areas such as DeSoto, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands and Polk counties.

Citrus growers during the 2021-2022 season had their lowest production in eight decades, as they grappled with issues such as deadly citrus greening disease. Citrus groves also got hammered during 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

The News Service of Florida