The United States Department of Agriculture is projecting a decrease in Florida’s orange production. Ryan Benk reports estimates have the loss at about 2 million boxes.
Last month, officials estimated citrus growers would produce 147 million boxes of oranges for the year. But, due to a drop in orange juice consumption and an increase in plant disease, this year’s estimate is declining. Now officials are expecting that number to be closer to 145 million. Spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual Andrew Meadows says the biggest issue is plant disease.
“What makes Florida a great climate for growing things like fruits and vegetables and citrus, also makes it a great place for pests and disease to breed. Right now, the main threat is a disease known as citrus greening or HLB.”
The Florida citrus industry brings in $9 billion dollars annually and employs nearly 76,000 people.