Florida Citrus

Adam Putnam via flickr / Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

St. Petersburg Times

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says Hurricane Irma has left the state’s iconic citrus industry in tatters.

ball of hemp twine
Emilian Robert Vicol

Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.

citrus growing
Boston Organics / http://bostonorganics.com/

Despite a decade of bad harvests, a Florida lawmaker says the state’s signature industry is recovering. Growers are optimistic new genetically engineered trees will survive the deadly citrus greening disease.

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan's twitter

A bipartisan bill making it easier for farmers to replace trees affected by citrus greening is now heading to the U.S. House floor.

Citrus greening (Huanglongbing) is reeking havoc on Florida's citrus industry.
A. Barra via Wikimedia commons

State lawmakers are taking their agricultural committee on the road to discuss citrus greening in Central Florida.  The trip comes as projections for the state’s harvest continue to tumble.

APSnet

Florida Department of Agriculture officials are warning Panhandle farmers and gardeners of a highly contagious citrus tree disease that’s been found farther north in the state than has ever seen.

UF-IFAS, USDA

Florida’s citrus growers appear to be losing a battle against the tree-killing bacteria known as greening.

Researchers Look For Citrus Greening Cure In Orlando

Feb 8, 2013

A disease called citrus greening is poisoning the citrus groves of Florida. It was first discovered in 2005 and to date there’s no cure. But finding a cure prompted an international citrus research conference in Orlando.

There’s short term and long term fixes. The more permanent answers like growing citrus trees resistant to the disease are a few years out. But Chief Operations Officer for the Citrus Research and Development Foundation Dr. Harold Browning says there are some promising short term bandages.

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.