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Florida Citrus Commission Changes Enacted

Josh McGill Florida Citrus Commission, Legislative

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation that modifies the makeup of the Florida Citrus Commission. The legislation expanded the commission’s size, added new citrus districts and created new requirements for membership. The number of citrus districts in the state is expanded from three to six, and the commission membership is increased from nine to 11.

Florida Citrus

Due to the expansion of the commission, new members must be appointed on or after July 1, when the bill takes effect. Those members’ terms will end on May 31, 2025, to keep with the three-year term rule.

Under the new membership requirements, three commission members must be processors, or those who are involved in canning, concentrating or processing citrus. One member must be a packer, meaning someone involved in a business that operates a packinghouse. He or she must be a resident of the Indian River production area of Florida. Another member will have to be a grower with a production area of more than 5,001 acres and “reside and grow citrus” in Florida. Additionally, the number of grower members of the commission will be expanded from six to seven.

The districts for citrus growing have also been redefined as a result of the expanded number of districts. Starting July 1, the Florida Citrus Commission districts will be defined as:

  • District 1: Collier, Hendry and Lee counties
  • District 2: Charlotte County
  • District 3: Glades, Highlands and Okeechobee counties
  • District 4: Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties
  • District 5: Citrus, Hernando, Levy, Osceola, Pasco, Polk and Sumter counties
  • District 6: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia counties

Each member of the commission classified as a grower must come from one of the new citrus districts. Members are appointed at the discretion of the governor.

The Florida Citrus Commission has also been tasked with revised responsibilities, in addition to its marketing efforts, as result of the legislation. This includes increased oversight over entities such as the Citrus Research and Development Foundation and the New Varieties Development & Management Corp. and their research proposals and award funding.

The legislation also mandates that “any new variety of citrus fruit which is developed as a result of any research or study accomplished using any percentage of funds from the State Treasury as well as any technology that enhances the marketability of new or current citrus fruit varieties” must be made available exclusively to the Florida Citrus Commission and the Department of Citrus for commercial licensing for 90 days before being opened up to other licensees. Should the commission use that exclusive license, it must retain exclusive use for eight years.

Source: Highlands County Citrus Growers Association

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