Hunt Discusses Citrus Acreage Reduction

Ernie Neff Citrus Greening, Economics

citrus acreage reduction

Ellis Hunt

“I think it just continues to show … the effect of HLB,” citrus grower and Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ellis Hunt Jr. says of the U.S. Department of Agriculture report that Florida citrus acreage fell 4 percent in a year. “I look forward to the day that the new groves going in the ground will offset the declining numbers.”

Hunt says he’s discouraged by the increase in abandoned groves, to 130,684 acres. He cites the problem in the Ridge area “where you have so many small groves. Most good growers have one or two bad neighbors next to them, which makes it extremely difficult to maintain a good psyllid program.” Growers use the term “bad neighbors” to describe fellow growers who don’t spray for the HLB-spreading psyllids. “I would love to see the day when those abandoned acres are greatly reduced,” he says.

Hunt says the 4 percent acreage decline is “probably in the ballpark” of what he would have expected.

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Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large