In a recent Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) newsletter, the grower association told how the Florida state budget addresses citrus issues and reported FCM’s position on an orange juice petition.
The 2022–23 Florida state budget signed June 2 by Gov. Ron DeSantis totaled $109.9 billion and included more than $37 million in support for the state’s citrus industry.
Citrus support in the budget includes:
- $8 million for basic and applied research through the Citrus Research and Development Foundation and the Citrus Research and Field Trial Foundation
- $17 million for Florida Department of Citrus marketing programs
- $6.2 million for the Citrus Health Response Program
- $2 million for the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund
- $3 million for the expedited propagation of potential greening-resistant and tolerant trees such as the Donaldson tree
- $1 million for new varieties development
According to FCM, those allocations equate to a cost savings of more than 90 cents per box for Florida citrus growers.
FCM Executive Vice President/CEO Matt Joyner acknowledged budget support from DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, Sen. Ben Albritton and Rep. Josie Tomkow.
The newsletter also reported that the FCM board of directors recently established a position on a citizen’s petition proposed by the Florida Citrus Processors Association. That petition would amend the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) standard of identity for not-from-concentrate/pasteurized orange juice.
FCM stated that the processors’ petition contained three components: lowering the required minimum Brix level, correcting taxonomic nomenclature, and creating a space for a future “juice orange” category. However, FCM ultimately voted to recommend dividing the issues into two separate petitions.
The first petition, which FCM voted to support moving forward, would deal only with lowering the Brix level from 10.5 to 10.
The second petition, containing the change in nomenclature and creation of the “juice orange” category, would be put on hold pending further consideration and discussion.
The processors have also requested letters of support from other industry groups, including the Florida Citrus Commission.
Source: Florida Citrus Mutual
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