Grower Optimism Tempered by Pricing

Ernie NeffCitrus, CUPS, Economics

Jerry Mixon

Central Florida citrus grower Jerry Mixon of KLM Farms recently expressed optimism that is tempered by current orange prices.

“I am optimistic, and it seems like the industry does have that same feeling,” Mixon says. “Yields are up. I have heard a little bit that (pound) solids are up a little bit, particularly Valencia crops … Trees look better.”

Mixon says the dark cloud is the pricing information he has been hearing lately. “I have not heard any contracts being offered,” he says. “There are some cash prices out there in the $2 range for Valencias, where in the past we were getting $2.60, $2.80. Some even got $3 a pound solid. So that’s a huge difference, and that might color some people’s ability to stay in business … because your costs haven’t gone down.”

Mixon concludes that he’ll be monitoring the upcoming hurricane season. “That’ll be for me, particularly, a thing I watch pretty closely with the CUPS (citrus under protective screen) programs.”

In recent years, Mixon has been growing some fresh citrus in Polk County utilizing the CUPS system that excludes HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids. Some CUPS structures in Florida suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large