Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its initial citrus crop forecast for the 2017-2018 season:
“Hurricane Irma’s path could not have been more lethal to Florida citrus. I am concerned that today’s forecast does not accurately estimate the damages to our industry, given that groves are still underwater and fruit is still dropping from trees. It’s important to recognize that the damage to Florida citrus is still unfolding, and will continue to for some time.
“One thing is clear, Florida’s growers need support and they need it fast. I will continue to work with leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the support and relief they need to rebuild as quickly as possible. There is no group of people more stubborn or more resilient than Florida’s growers, and we will get through this together.”
The USDA’s forecast today of 54 million boxes of oranges for the 2017-2018 season is down from the 68.7 million boxes harvested last season.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam announced that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages. Commissioner Putnam also joined Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Congressional Delegation this week in Washington D.C to discuss the recent damage caused by Hurricane Irma and to request federal assistance.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.