The Panhandle May be the Next Citrus-Growing Region

JAY — There’s a humble copse of 18 trees that recently got planted at an agricultural research station in Jay. It’s an experiment into whether Florida’s iconic crop can migrate up to the Panhandle.

It’s also the result of an agricultural agent’s migration, from a suburb where farming was losing a battle against urban encroachment to a place where he believes production agriculture has a better chance of long-term viability. And a place that he calls home.

Citrus just isn’t grown that much in North Florida. In fact, it’s also grown less and less in its traditional strongholds in central and south Florida as a deadly disease takes its toll on groves.

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