The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) on Oct. 26 approved a Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) 2022–23 budget that is only $123,000 less than a preliminary budget approved in June. Approval of the $29.795 million budget came less than a month after Hurricane Ian knocked much of the state’s citrus crop to the ground and damaged trees. The FCC serves as the governing board for the FDOC.
FDOC grower taxes remained unchanged from the previous year at 5 cents per box for fresh oranges, 12 cents per box for processed oranges and 7 cents per box for grapefruit and specialty fruit. The grower taxes provide part of the FDOC funding. They are based on the first U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA/NASS) forecast for the 2022–23 season. That forecast was based on surveys made before Hurricane Ian.
Revenue for the 2022–23 season is projected to be $2 million higher than in the previous year, largely due to an increase in general revenue funding from the state. The FDOC will receive $19.1 million in state general revenue, compared to the $17.3 million it received the previous year. The FDOC budget will also benefit from taxes on an increased amount of projected imported citrus and unspent carryover from the previous season.
In anticipation of a reduced USDA/NASS citrus crop forecast for Florida in December, the FDOC moved $1.2 million to reserves.
The USDA/NASS October forecast was for 28 million boxes of oranges, 2 million boxes of grapefruit and 700,000 boxes of specialty fruit in Florida. The forecast is expected to be reduced greatly in coming months as a result of crop damage from the hurricane. FDOC Deputy Director of Administration and Finance Christine Marion said the 2022–23 budget should withstand a harvest of as little as 18 million boxes of oranges.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus and News Service of Florida
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