Mutual on November Crop Forecast and Hurricane Aid

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, hurricane

citrus growers

“In the wake of Hurricane Irma, it is extremely difficult to estimate the size of this year’s crop,” Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks said soon after the latest citrus crop forecast was issued on Nov. 9. “In reality, we probably won’t have an accurate number until the middle of 2018 once all fruit is picked. Long term, the effects … Read More

Some Rootstocks Succumbed to Irma

Ernie Neffhurricane, Rootstocks


Researchers inspecting their groves at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center after Hurricane Irma found that trees on certain rootstocks were very likely to be uprooted. Fernando Alferez, a horticulturist at the Immokalee center, discusses the uprooted trees and hopes he has for fresh citrus growing. “This is anecdotal evidence from our experience here,” Alferez says. “What we saw … Read More

VIDEO: Rubio on Lack of Additional Disaster Relief for Citrus

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Industry News Release, Weather

Washington, D.C. – Prior to supporting the U.S. Senate’s passage tonight of the disaster relief package previously passed by the U.S. House, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor regarding the package’s lack of additional disaster relief for Florida’s citrus producers, whose crops were decimated by Hurricane Irma. The full speech can be watched here. A partial transcript … Read More

Grower Sees Strong Future for Florida Citrus

Ernie NeffForecast, hurricane


Justin Sorrells of Sorrells Citrus comments on the first U.S. Department of Agriculture citrus crop forecast of the season and the future of the Florida citrus industry. “I think the numbers (forecast) were interesting — higher than I suspected … Maybe that means our state wasn’t impacted quite as heavily as we thought it was going to be,” Sorrells says. … Read More

In Peace River, ‘No Giving Up’ After Hurricane

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, hurricane


Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Steve Smith reacts to the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citrus crop forecast of the season and says growers are focused on recovering from Hurricane Irma. He says the forecast of 54 million boxes of Florida oranges “was a little higher than I anticipated, considering the extent of the damage across … Read More

Sen. Bill Nelson Fighting for Citrus Disaster-Relief Money

Tacy Callieshurricane


Following is a statement from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on President Trump’s efforts to block any attempt by Nelson and others to add additional money for Florida’s citrus growers to the disaster-relief package being considered in the Senate today. “I’m disappointed that the president has nixed the disaster money for Florida’s citrus growers,” said Nelson. “He said it will … Read More

Citrus Commission Chairman Testifies on Hurricane Damage

Abbey TaylorCitrus, hurricane, Weather

citrus could recover

The Florida Senate Agriculture Committee held a meeting to discuss Hurricane Irma damage on Oct. 12 in Tallahassee. The meeting featured two panels of growers and ranchers who gave testimony about damage they have witnessed from the hurricane. Ellis Hunt, third-generation citrus grower and chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, gave testimony about his family farm as well as the … Read More

Snively: Forecast as Good as We Can Ask for

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, hurricane


Jim Snively of Southern Gardens Citrus reacts to the Oct. 12 USDA forecast of 54 million orange boxes for the 2017-18 season. He also addresses his company’s damage from Hurricane Irma and the storm’s long-term impact on the citrus industry. “I think the number is as good as what we can ask for right now, with so much uncertainty, not … Read More

Tell Senators to Pursue Disaster Relief Funding for Florida Agriculture

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release


In response to the recent wave of hurricanes pummeling our shores, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster relief package last week. However, USDA-specific relief funding for Florida agriculture was not included. Hurricane Irma was the largest, most powerful hurricane recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, engulfing the entire state and leaving behind $2.5 billion in agricultural damage. … Read More

Jonathan Brown Discusses Crop Forecast, Irma Damage

Ernie NeffForecast, hurricane


Citrus grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms in Arcadia reacts to the Oct. 12 initial U.S. Department of Agriculture citrus crop forecast of 54 million boxes of Florida oranges. He also discusses damage from Hurricane Irma. “I was a little bit impressed that it (the forecast) came out where it did,” Brown says. “I was kind of expecting it to … Read More

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee Hears About Citrus Damage

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Legislative, Weather

Citrus was a hot topic Thursday morning during the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee meeting in Tallahassee to discuss hurricane damage to Florida agriculture. Led by Chairperson Denise Grimsley, the committee heard from two sets of panelists as they explained the damage in their respective industries. The Florida Department of Citrus was represented by citrus grower Ellis Hunt in one of … Read More

Mutual Updates Efforts to Obtain Hurricane Irma Aid

Ernie Neffhurricane


Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows updates the grower association’s efforts to obtain aid for growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma. “It’s been a month since Irma hit, and we at Mutual have been very busy understanding the gravity of the situation and communicating that with our congressional delegation and leaders with the USDA,” Meadows says. “Everybody that needs … Read More

$760 Million: Initial Estimate of Irma’s Florida Citrus Damage

Tacy CalliesCitrus, hurricane

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced on Oct. 4 that the preliminary agricultural damages caused by Hurricane Irma in Florida total more than $2.5 billion. In an initial report, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimated losses for each segment of agriculture. The preliminary economic assessments account for current crop losses and ancillary losses, such as … Read More

Growers Discuss Hurricane Irma Losses and Issues

Ernie Neffhurricane

Growers shared their concerns about numerous Hurricane Irma issues in a grower forum Friday in Arcadia. Multi-county citrus Extension agent Steve Futch summarizes the discussions. Futch says there was talk about potential disaster relief for growers and crop insurance. There was some discussion about whether there was enough damage to receive crop insurance payments. “I think the consensus was that … Read More

Hurricane Irma Smashed Recovery; Aid Needed

Ernie Neffhurricane


Just before Hurricane Irma whacked Florida, groves and crops appeared to be improving after years of losses from HLB, grower and Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ellis Hunt Jr. says. Now, he adds, growers need federal aid to recover. “We had just finished our (crop) estimate and we were showing an increase in Lake Wales,” Hunt says. “Our groves looked noticeably … Read More

Putnam: Hurricane Relief Requires ‘Act of Congress’

Ernie Neffhurricane

Federal assistance for citrus growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma will be more problematic than following past hurricanes, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam told the Florida Citrus Commission on Wednesday. He explains why and updates reports about damage to the citrus crop. “The simple change from 2004-05 is that Congress in the intervening years has taken away the discretion … Read More