Bad Outlook for Florida Citrus Gets Even Worse

On January 16 of this year we published the State of Florida’s updated, discouraging outlook for citrus production. Unfortunately, that pessimism has only deepened since then. State agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, in a message distributed this week and reprinted below, reports that Florida’s orange harvest will be its lowest in 50 years. The cause is citrus greening, a disease for which a cure has not yet been developed.

And citrus is not the only important crop in peril in Florida. The avocado industry is under siege due to laurel wilt, which remains unabated in the southern part of the state. Accordingly, Richard Lyons’ Nursery will continue to decline selling either citrus or avocado trees until reliable, affordable treatments to prevent citrus greening and laurel wilt are developed.

Friend, Florida growers are expected to harvest the smallest orange crop in nearly 50 years, and all because of a tiny insect. Citrus greening, a bacterial disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, is an existential threat to Florida’s signature crop. In just 10 years, citrus greening has cut Florida’s annual citrus harvest by more than half. The health of Florida citrus is important to every Floridian – not just those who depend on it for their livelihoods. With a nearly 500,000 acre footprint in Florida, citrus has a profound impact on so many of our interior counties and the quality of life of the surrounding communities. However, hope is not lost. We are partnering with the industry, the federal government, universities and private companies to develop cutting-edge solutions. We will continue to fight to save Florida citrus, its more than $10.7 billion economic impact and the more than 64,000 jobs it supports. For more information on what we are doing to save Florida’s signature crop, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

Sincerely,

 

Adam Putnam

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

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