Millions in Agricultural Crops at Risk as Dorian Approaches Florida

Daniel CooperCitrus, Grapefruit, hurricane, Industry News Release, Weather

dorian

GIf Hurricane Dorian makes landfall mid-way up Florida’s Atlantic Coast – as many models predicted Thursday afternoon – the storm could devastate not only Central Florida tourist destinations, but also the region’s agricultural areas, which include significant acreage devoted to citrus, vegetable, ornamental plant and cattle production. Economists and Extension faculty with the University of Florida Institute of Food and … Read More

Helping Generations Cope with Freezes

Ernie Nefffreeze, Weather

crop

Winter Weather Watch is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension program that has helped generations of Florida citrus growers be prepared for freezes. “Back in the ’60s, we didn’t have the Internet. We had rotary dial phones,” says multi-county citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt, who discusses the history and workings of Winter Weather Watch, which … Read More

Set Up WHIP Appointment Now

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Industry News Release, Legislative, Weather

By Mike Sparks We wrapped up the fourth Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) meeting in Fort Pierce yesterday with a large crowd at the Agricultural Research Service facility. All told, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted almost 800 attendees during the week. If you didn’t attend one of the events, we have some … Read More

USDA Encourages Grower Attendance at WHIP Meetings

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Industry News Release, Weather

hurricanes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency will hold several information sessions in Florida about the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP). The meetings are the first step in the Hurricane Irma relief package. The USDA is encouraging all growers who wish to participate in WHIP to attend at least one meeting. Below are the dates, times and … Read More

HCCGA Discusses Disaster Relief Funding

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Legislative, Weather

After months of fighting for disaster relief funding, Florida agriculture finally received the answer it has been waiting to hear. On Feb. 9, a disaster relief package was passed through Congress that allocated $3.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with $2.36 billion going toward Florida agriculture producers who suffered hurricane-related crop loss. While this is good news for … Read More

When Can Growers Expect to Receive Relief Funds?

Abbey Taylorfinancial, Legislative, Weather

rubio

Florida growers can now breathe a sigh of relief since disaster funding is coming their way. On Feb. 9, a relief package was passed to help the United States following the array of natural disasters in 2017, which included approximately $2.4 billion dollars specifically for U.S. agriculture. However, the big question on everyone’s mind is, how and when will growers … 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

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

Freeze Alerts by Phone for California Citrus Growers

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Weather

Freeze alerts by phone will be available this winter for California citrus growers. California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is implementing a new system to help Central Valley growers stay updated on freeze alerts. Growers can sign up for text notifications to be alerted when the CCM Central Valley Weather Watch forecast is updated. This will include updates during critical nights. 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

Commissioner Putnam Releases Initial Hurricane Damage Estimate

Abbey TaylorIndustry News Release, Weather

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has released an initial estimate on agriculture damage from Hurricane Irma. The estimate will serve as a baseline for policymakers as they create a disaster relief package for those impacted by the storm. Although these estimates are not final, they are a starting point. The document includes estimates on crop loss and cost of damages. … Read More

Federal Program Provides Help for Irma Storm Damage

Josh McGillWeather

scott

Release from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service If your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind­storms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect … Read More

Officials Survey Hurricane Damage in Florida

Abbey TaylorWeather

On September 18, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Congressman Tom Rooney ad Senator Marco Rubio flew in a helicopter to get an aerial view of farm damage from Hurricane Irma. Described by Rubio as an “agriculture catastrophe,” the storm ravished many Florida crops. Since many Florida vegetables were not in the ground yet, they … Read More

Florida Citrus Faces Major Crop Loss After Hurricane Irma

Abbey TaylorCitrus, Weather

Unfortunately, Florida citrus did not fare well in Hurricane Irma. Lisa Lochridge, public affairs director for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, says from the reports that she has received, the largest produce impact was on the citrus industry. Hurricane Irma brought strong winds that stripped the fruit from many trees and caused major crop loss. Lochridge says uprooted trees … Read More

Highlands County Citrus Status After Hurricane Irma

Tacy CalliesWeather

crop forecast

A day after Hurricane Irma exited Florida, Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, said, “Early anecdotal estimates are that half to two-thirds of the crop is on the ground in our area.” He says that from the little bit he has been out and around in the Central Florida Ridge, he has not seen any … Read More

Peace River Citrus Damage from Hurricane Irma

Tacy CalliesWeather

Steve Smith, executive director of the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association, says he is getting a mixed bag of reports on Hurricane Irma damage from growers in his area. “Some growers are calling in with limited damage with a few pieces of fruit on the ground, and others are saying heavy damage and trees pushed over on the outside … Read More

Hurricane Irma’s Effect on Indian River Citrus

Tacy CalliesWeather

The Indian River area on the East Coast apparently fared the best of all Florida citrus-growing regions hit by Hurricane Irma. “I’m hearing the vast majority of the crop made it through,” says Indian River Citrus League Executive Vice President Doug Bournique. He thinks a maximum of 20 percent of the region’s crop was lost. Bournique says many groves remain … Read More

Hurricane Irma Damage Is Serious for Florida Citrus

Tacy CalliesWeather

As Hurricane Irma tore through Florida on September 10-11, all of the state’s citrus-growing regions were affected to some degree. “There’s no doubt we’ve had some serious damage,” said Florida Citrus Mutual Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Sparks. “The amount of loss varies substantially from the various citrus-growing regions.” In Florida’s southwest citrus region, Sparks said, “Crop … Read More

Two Main Concerns for Citrus in Hurricane Irma

Abbey TaylorWeather

The threat of Hurricane Irma has been looming over Florida. Now, the state is roughly three to four days from facing the storm. While people prepare their hurricane kits, Florida citrus growers are doing what they can to protect their groves. However, at this point, very little can be done. Calvin Arnold, center director of the Southwest Florida Research and … Read More

Citrus Growers Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Daniel CooperCitrus, Weather

hurricane irma

Unfortunately, Florida citrus growers are having to prepare for Hurricane Irma, which at this point looks like it will impact the Sunshine State. Mongi Zekri, the multi-county citrus agent in the Hendry County Extension office in LaBelle, says this is especially troubling with harvest just around the corner. Hear more: Read a recent Citrus Industry magazine article by Mongi Zekri, … Read More