Many Florida citrus growers are skeptical of the proposed federal marketing order for orange juice (OJ).
The proposed marketing order would allow all U.S. fruit used in OJ and all OJ imports to be assessed to share in the cost of marketing. This federal order, however, poses some potential drawbacks for Florida juice orange growers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not allow ad messages to show a preference based on juice origin. Since all the players’ resources would be pooled together to generically market OJ, Florida OJ would not be allowed to stand out.
During the December Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association (PRVCGA) board of directors meeting, Dan Gunter, economist and former Florida Department of Citrus executive director, presented the latest research data to growers on the proposed marketing order.
Kait Shaw, PRVCGA executive director, shared that many of her growers were disheartened by the data Gunter presented.
“This order has been thrown around for a few years now,” Shaw says. “It’s come back up and gone away several times now. I think this time around the growers are a little disappointed by the data that was found. I think they were expecting it to be a lot more help than what the projected numbers showed.”
The data shows the order is only expected to generate between $10 million and $12 million, much lower than what growers were expecting.
“We’ve been told we need close to $60 million to really push the needle, so I think seeing those low numbers shocked some of our growers,” Shaw says.
According to Shaw, another big concern among PRVCGA growers is who would sit on the board of this order to make the rules and decisions.
“Personally, I feel like I have not been presented enough evidence to tell me this is going to 100 percent save the day,” Shaw concludes. “There is just more work to be done before we think about the federal order. I feel like we should be making headway to make sure we are growing the best fruit and that we are becoming profitable. It’s disheartening to see generations of growers barely making a living.”
See more on the marketing order.
This article was written by Ashley Robinson, AgNet Media communications intern in Gainesville, Florida.