Dantzler on Forecast and CRDF Research

Ernie NeffCRDF, Crop Forecast

Rick Dantzler

Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler discusses the recent Florida citrus crop forecast and new CRDF research projects.

Dantzler says the orange forecast of 74 million boxes was “a little lower than I thought it was going to be, but it’s about in line with what most growers thought … I think the good news is that it shows gradual increase. That sometimes works better than these real high and low swings.”

“The grapefruit number (4.6 million boxes) was about what I thought it was going to be,” Dantzler says. “We know we have challenges with that commodity, especially. And at the CRDF level we’re doing all we can to get tools for these growers to hang in there until we end up with a tree that’s going to be greening-resistant or greening-tolerant sufficient to sustain the industry.”

“We (CRDF) funded eight new projects,” Dantzler adds. “There is an emphasis on applied research, or the idea of getting basic research into the field to see if it can be scaled up to a commercial level. So we really focused on things that could provide growers with immediate assistance. We focused on the vector, the pathogen and the host (of HLB) … I’m confident that they (the projects) will give growers guidelines, answers, ways to keep it going until we get to where we know we have to be.”

Finally, Dantzler notes that CRDF operates primarily on a tax on each box of fruit Florida growers produce. “We don’t take it for granted” that the grower tax will always be there, he says. “We feel like it’s something that we have to earn every single year, and we’re trying to do the very best we can with it.”

Hear more from Dantzler’s interview with Citrus Industry magazine Editor Tacy Callies:

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large