Production levels and techniques as well as citrus marketing were topics at a recent Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association roundtable meeting in Wauchula. Executive Director Kait Shaw summarizes the discussion.
“I think a lot of the growers felt that it had been a pretty good year,” Shaw says. “Things are starting to look up from greening.” She says growers “are making things turn out for the better.”
Two growers at the roundtable reported averaging more than 350 boxes per acre in the completed 2018-19 citrus season. Statewide, per-acre production levels have averaged less than 200 boxes per acre for years as a result of HLB. Shaw says Hardee County growers are definitely seeing production increases, and some DeSoto County growers are seeing improvement as well.
Marketing has become a big priority for some Peace River citrus growers. “There’s been talk of raising the (Florida Department of Citrus, or FDOC) box tax, and my association is split 50/50,” she says. “I have a lot of people that are anti-tax and they don’t even want to think about raising that tax until they can have some guarantee of return on investment … The other half is, ‘Yes, let’s raise the box tax. This is our business; this is our legacy … We need to have some skin in the game and we need to make sure that we’re investing in ourselves.’”
The FDOC needs to “provide these growers some type of timeline and some type of return that they’re going to get” when discussing a tax increase, Shaw suggests.
Hear more from Shaw:
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