Tallahassee, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service has released an updated Florida citrus production estimate for the 2019-2020 crop year, forecasting a 10% increase for Florida grapefruit and predicting that Florida orange production will hold steady at 74 million boxes. Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried offered the following statement:
“Today’s updated citrus forecast is encouraging – it’s a direct result of the fortitude of Florida citrus growers who have faced natural disasters, citrus greening, and other obstacles, but continue working hard to produce our state’s signature crop. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services remains committed to working with industry partners like the Florida Department of Citrus and Florida Citrus Mutual to promote and protect this long-standing industry. We will continue to work together in pursuit of new technology and research, and innovative techniques to support Florida-grown citrus.”
Florida grapefruit production is expected to climb to 5.4 million boxes for the 2019-2020 season. Overall, the figures represent a 3% growth for oranges and a 20% increase for grapefruit over the 2018-19 crop year.
Commissioner Fried has been a strong supporter of the citrus industry and has proposed significant citrus funding in this year’s budget request. This includes $8 million for citrus research projects, $7.4 million for citrus health and fighting pests and diseases, and $2.5 million to support the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund. Fried also helped establish a state direct support agency to manage the new Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRAFT) program, which will plant 5,000 new acres of citrus groves using experimental techniques.