FDOC Beefs Up Promotions

Ernie NeffFlorida Citrus Commission

Ned Hancock

At the guidance of state health officials in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Florida Citrus Commission met telephonically on March 18. At the meeting, commissioners voted to beef up Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) efforts to promote Florida citrus products.

“We agreed to allocate another $500,000 out of our fund balance for media enhancement to our current marketing and promotion program,” said Commission Chairman Ned Hancock. The commission is the governing board for the FDOC.

Hancock reported that the commission chose Edibles as the marketing firm that will oversee all FDOC marketing and issues management. Issues management includes providing truthful information and correcting misinformation about sugar in orange juice and other such topics that might concern consumers.

The FDOC does not plan to implement marketing messaging related to COVID-19. “We feel like we have a product that is beneficial with a high content of Vitamin C” and other contributors to the immune system and overall health, Hancock said.


Hancock said the state of Florida instructed the FDOC and other agencies to close their doors to visitors. Consequently, he thinks upcoming commission meetings will continue to be held telephonically. The next scheduled commission meeting is May 20. Hancock said some FDOC staff will likely work from home and the agency will cut back on travel in an effort to keep everyone safe in the face of the coronavirus. “We’re available by email, phone, those types of things,” he said. “We won’t be traveling nearly like we have been.”

Hancock added that since there will be fewer meetings of all types as a result of the coronavirus, the FDOC staff and the commission will work hard to keep growers and others in the citrus industry informed about important issues. Some trade associations are expected to join with the FDOC in providing citrus industry information, Hancock said.

Some members of the Florida citrus industry have been looking into the possibility of a federal marketing order that would involve all U.S. citrus-producing states in the funding of citrus product promotion. However, Hancock said the topic wasn’t addressed at the Florida Citrus Commission meeting. Talk he has heard indicates that research and discussions about a potential marketing order are “in the infancy stages.”

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large