Freeze Mauls Florida Citrus, Damage Reported

MIAMI, Jan 11 – Freezing overnight temperatures inflicted varying damage on the fruit in Florida’s northern and central citrus growing regions, although the losses did not appear to be catastrophic, producers said on Monday.

The Sunshine State is the country’s biggest producer of oranges.

“I would say that there is probably widespread light damage and some considerable to heavy fruit damage,” Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association in central Florida, told Reuters. Highlands County is the second largest citrus producing county in Florida.

Florida, whose $9.3 billion citrus industry produces more than three-quarters of the U.S. orange crop and accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply, was hit over the past week by successive nights of unusually low freezing temperatures.

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