Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its June forecast for Florida citrus in the final forecast for the 2021-22 season, which predicts a slight increase over the May forecast in Florida’s overall orange production while overall grapefruit production slightly decreased. In response to the updated forecast, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released the following statement:
“Even though production is down from the prior season, this forecast is an encouraging sign for Florida citrus growers as we mark two consecutive months where the orange production forecast has increased slightly. Our producers have faced many challenges over the past decade, including the continued impact of citrus greening and severe weather events – from Hurricane Irma to recent freezes. However, Florida orange juice and our fresh citrus continue to be in demand by consumers. Growers, packers, and processors are committed to saving this industry through innovation, dedication, and tenacity. My department and I share this commitment to our state’s iconic citrus industry, and we will keep fighting for resources and funding while taking every opportunity to aid our growers with science, collaboration, hard work, and determination. Consumers can also do their part to help support our growers by choosing Fresh From Florida citrus and OJ when grocery shopping. Together, we will keep Florida’s signature crop growing for generations to come!”
Forecast: The USDA’s June forecast for all Florida oranges increased by 500,000 thousand boxes, bringing the new forecast total to 40.7 million boxes. USDA also forecast a slight decrease in Florida grapefruit production, projecting 100,000 less boxes for a new season total of 3.3 million boxes.
Commissioner Fried has been a strong advocate for Florida’s citrus industry, securing $18.5 million in the 2021-22 state budget to support Florida citrus production, health, and research. Commissioner Fried also helped establish a state direct-support organization to manage the Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRAFT) program planting 5,000 new acres of citrus groves using experimental techniques. Additionally she fought against the Trump Administration’s 2020 decision to allow Chinese citrus imports and wrote to the USDA advocating for Florida grapefruit producers after standards were removed on grapefruit imports in 2021.