Peace River Growers Discuss Current Issues

Ernie Neffhurricane

Kait Shaw

Fruit size, Hurricane Irma relief funds and replanting were among issues addressed at a recent grower roundtable meeting in Arcadia. Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Kait Shaw summarized some of the discussion.

Regarding fruit size, she said, “Hamlins in particular are very small this year, but even the Valencias. I just don’t think the fruit is as big as we’d like it to be.”

Several growers expressed frustration with the process of obtaining relief funds in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Irma. “I think a lot of growers feel that they’re not getting all the information that they need,” Shaw said. “I think every time they turn around there’s another hill to jump over.” But she said federal Farm Service Agency staff working to help growers in her area get relief funds are “doing the best they can with the resources they have.”

There was a report during the meeting that much replanting and resetting is occurring in the Peace River area. Shaw said much of the replanting is the result of grove destruction caused by Hurricane Irma.

Finally, Shaw discussed the success she is seeing with the Florida Department of Citrus’ (FDOC) social media campaign, which in recent years has replaced TV as the primary way of teaching consumers about Florida citrus. “Their (FDOC) strategies are so much different than the old-school way of doing things,” she said. 

The grower meeting was hosted by Shaw and multi-county citrus Extension agent Steve Futch.

Hear more from Shaw:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large