Matt Caldwell, Florida state representative and candidate for commissioner of agriculture, was on hand at a citrus industry lunch when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its initial 2018–19 citrus crop forecast. Caldwell comments on the 79 million-box orange forecast, which was larger than most had expected.
“It’s certainly a hopeful change from last year when we dealt with obviously not only long-term disease impacts, but the hurricane putting half the crop or more on the ground,” Caldwell says. “Certainly a little bit of recovery there, but look, we’ve got a long way to go. Frankly, I’d like to see us back over 100 million boxes.”
Caldwell discusses his family’s long history in Florida and notes that he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010. He says he has “worked with the current commissioner, Adam Putnam, on all the major issues: water policy, conservation lands and dealing with the federal government.”
Caldwell discusses his priorities for citrus, if elected agriculture commissioner. “In citrus in particular, the department (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which the agriculture commissioner heads) needs to be a champion for research and development,” he says.
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