Citrus Industry Impacts Florida’s Economy

Josh McGillEconomics, Tip of the Week

By Julio Cruz, João-Pedro Ferreira and Christa Court

Many Florida citrus growers are under stress due to disease and extreme weather events. Citrus growers often request financial or other types of support from local, state and federal governments due to such situations. Understanding and communicating how the citrus industry supports economic activity throughout the state, even outside of the industry itself, is critical if growers are to continue to receive financial investment in recovery funds and research dollars to support their existence. A recent University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences report summarizes the economic contributions of Florida’s citrus industry, providing statistics and explanations so that this information is easy to understand and share with others. 

citrus industry

While citrus production volumes have declined in recent years, the Florida citrus industry remains a significant contributor to Florida’s economy. During the 2020–21 citrus marketing season, Florida’s citrus producers harvested 58 million boxes of fruit. The total grower value of citrus fruit production was nearly $785 million, with more than 85% of this value representing fruit for processing.

Florida citrus juice processors produced more than 665 million gallons of citrus juice in 2020–21, with a total producer value of $2.983 billion. More than 91% of this value was citrus juice shipped from Florida to other states and foreign countries. Florida citrus processors also produced byproducts of citrus pulp, meal, molasses and the essential oil d-Limonene, valued at nearly $63 million.

In 2020–21, the total volume of certified fresh shipments from Florida citrus packinghouses was nearly 11 million 4/5-bushel cartons, including 6.1 million cartons of oranges, 3.8 million cartons of grapefruit, and 1.1 million cartons of specialty citrus (tangelos and tangerines). The wholesale margin on total certified fresh shipments for 2020–21 was valued at $81 million.

It doesn’t stop there though; citrus industry activities support additional economic activity in sectors throughout Florida’s economy. After accounting for these multiplier effects, it was estimated that the citrus industry contributed $6.935 billion in total industry output (e.g., sales revenue) to the state’s economy. Citrus juice manufacturing accounted for 77% of total output contributions or $5.334 billion. Total output contributions from citrus fruit production (grower receipts) totaled $1.425 billion. Packinghouse sales of fresh fruit accounted for $177 million.

The citrus industry supported 32,542 full-time and part-time jobs in Florida. Total value-added contributions, estimated at $2.841 billion, represent the industry’s contributions to gross state product. Total state and local tax contributions of the industry were estimated at $151 million.

Overall economic contributions for all citrus industry activities in 2019–20 compared to those of 2020–21 suggest that employment increased by 0.2%, labor income increased by 5.8%, value added decreased by 3.4%, and industry output increased by 2.8%.

Julio Cruz is a Ph.D. student, João-Pedro Ferreira is a postdoctoral associate, and Christa Court is an assistant professor — all in the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

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