Georgia Citrus Industry Poised for Growth

Tacy CalliesCitrus, planting

By Jaci Schreckengost Opportunities for Georgia citrus growers continue to rise as interest and research in the industry increase. Many stakeholders and industry leaders are pleased about the progress that has been made so far, but they are even more excited about what there is to come. “The industry basically started from nothing, so there was and still is a …


CRDF Focuses on HLB Research Communication

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Research

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation’s (CRDF) board of directors, which is focused on HLB, discussed ways to improve communications with growers and others during a meeting in Immokalee on Tuesday. The directors asked numerous growers attending the meeting at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center for their input regarding improved communication. One grower said he needs more detail …

Sneak Peek: May 2018 Citrus Industry Magazine

Tacy CalliesSneak Peek

Emerging biogenetic technologies are explored in two articles in the May issue of Citrus Industry magazine. University of Florida researchers discuss the tools they are using to try to win the battle against HLB. The first article takes a look at how scientists are experimenting with handheld gene guns and the citrus tristeza virus vector in order to improve citrus …

Visiting Southern Gardens Citrus

Abbey TaylorCitrus

Last week, members of the AgNet Media team had the opportunity to visit the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) to meet with some of the area’s key players. During the three-day tour, the team explored various agricultural operations, including Southern Gardens Citrus. The Southern Gardens Citrus visit began with a tour of Devil’s Garden Grove, led by grove manager Luke Davis. …

PIECES OF THE PAST: A Sentimental Journey to Winter Park

Tacy CalliesHistory

By Brenda Eubanks Burnette This year’s Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival poster featured a look reminiscent of the old citrus crate labels. The artist, Florida native Don Dewitt, noted the poster was also a “nod” to the Winter Park Farmers’ Market located by the old train depot on New England Avenue. The depot was built in 1926 when Winter Park …


Post-Irma Ag Relief Could Come Soon

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release

Florida farmers awaiting federal disaster relief to help cover losses from Hurricane Irma last September may learn more details this week about the highly anticipated program. The $2.36 billion Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP) is expected to offer a direct-payments model that would not hold growers to traditional payment limitations and would establish a state-managed program to handle tree …


Grower Discusses HLB Management Strategies

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Psyllids

Jim Snively, vice president of grove operations at Southern Gardens Citrus, discusses his company’s management of HLB and the psyllids that spread it. He summarizes a presentation he made at the International Citrus Business Conference in March. “By reducing stress, the trees can deal with disease much better,” Snively says. “We’re doing this through continuous-type feeding or frequent feeding with …

Modern Irrigation Methods Save California’s Resources

Tacy CalliesCalifornia Corner, Irrigation

By Len Wilcox California’s consistent sunshine makes for long growing seasons and allows tremendous varieties of foods to be grown, but it isn’t a perfect environment. Chronic water shortages create challenges for everything except cactus grown for tequila or jelly — but not many growers specialize in that. The rest of them, including citrus growers, have to deal with water …

Perdue to Rooney: Expect Citrus Disaster Relief Plan Next Week

Tacy Callieshurricane

On April 18, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the details of the $2.3 billion disaster relief program for Florida citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma will be finalized by next week. Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), who spearheaded the relief effort, issued the following statement in response: “Today, Secretary Perdue reassured Florida citrus producers that he is working to make sure that disaster relief is made …

Managing Mites in Florida Citrus

Tacy CalliesPests

By Lukasz L. Stelinski, Jawwad A. Qureshi and Philip A. Stansly Florida citrus is host to four main groups of mites categorized by differences in lineage and morphology. However, only rust mites, spider mites and broad mites historically cause economic damage to commercially grown citrus in the state. The fourth group, referred to as false spider mites, are vectors elsewhere …


Imidacloprid Alternatives for Psyllid Control

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Psyllids

Phil Stansly, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist, discusses alternatives to imidacloprid for helping to control HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids (ACP). “Imidacloprid of course is typical of the neonicotinoids that we’ve been using as soil applications to protect young trees,” Stansly says. “We’ve seen and the growers have seen, too, that soil applications of systemic insecticides …


Sales Tax Rebate for Growers Who Suffered Hurricane Damage

Daniel Cooperhurricane, Industry News Release

The Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott have approved a sales tax rebate program for agricultural producers and growers who suffered damages due to Hurricane Irma. Florida Farm Bureau has offered a dedicated webpage as a resource to farmers and ranchers who can take advantage of this opportunity at On March 23, Governor Rick Scott signed a sales tax …

Conaway Introduces the Agriculture and Nutrition Act

Abbey TaylorFarm Bill, Industry News Release, Legislative

Three years, 114 hearings, six listening sessions and countless industry meetings have laid the groundwork for the 2018 farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee delivered what it calls a strong farm bill for producers, consumers and all of rural America. After introducing the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) during a teleconference, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway …


Rucks Discusses Hurricane Damage and Delays

Ernie Neffhurricane

The damage that Hurricane Irma inflicted on citrus nurseries and citrus groves in September caused long delays in tree deliveries to growers, says Phil Rucks, owner of Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof. Rucks says 59 of the state’s 77 citrus nurseries sustained some degree of damage in the hurricane. Much of the nursery damage wasn’t repaired for half-a-year as …


Scott Urges Quick Action on Agriculture Aid

Daniel CooperCitrus, financial, hurricane, Industry News Release

Gov. Rick Scott is asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to move quickly to get disaster-relief funding into the hands of Florida citrus growers, as it may be another three months before farmers can start to apply for the money. In a letter Tuesday, Scott also asked Perdue to “customize federal aid for Florida citrus growers” to meet their needs. …

Steep Florida Grapefruit Production Declines

Abbey TaylorGrapefruit

Most growers and professionals in the citrus industry are aware that Florida’s orange crop has declined due to diseases like citrus greening and natural disasters like Hurricane Irma. However, Florida’s grapefruit crop has been suffering tremendously as well, even more severely than Florida oranges. The Florida orange crop has dropped by 35 percent this year, while Florida grapefruit has dropped …

crop forecast

Tree Assistance Program Tweaked to Help Citrus Growers

Tacy CalliesLegislative

By Michael W. Sparks Florida Citrus Mutual, the citrus industry and our Congressional delegation continue to work with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on obtaining federal relief payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for citrus groves damaged by Hurricane Irma. Once specifics are unveiled, we will get them to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, I wanted …


Overview of Mexico’s Citrus Industry

Ernie NeffMexico

Ricardo Martinez Zambrano, director of sales for North America with Citrofrut, summarizes a Mexican citrus industry report he delivered at the recent International Citrus Business Conference. Zambrano says oranges account for about 56 percent of Mexico’s total citrus production, but “there is no official source in Mexico that does the estimation.” An area of eastern Mexico has about 80 percent …

Florida orange

Florida Citrus Forecast: Oranges Hold Steady, Grapefruit Tumbles

Daniel CooperCrop Forecast

The 2017-2018 Florida all-orange forecast released on April 10 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is 45 million boxes, unchanged from the March forecast. The total includes 19 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges and 26 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The Row Count survey, conducted March 27-28, showed 99 percent of the early-midseason rows …


Grower Partnerships Are Key to UF/IFAS Plant-Breeding Success

Daniel CooperBreeding, Citrus, Industry News Release, Research

University of Florida (UF) citrus breeder Fred Gmitter recalls meeting Vero Beach grower Tom Hammond about 20 years ago, when Gmitter needed a place to grow hybrid citrus. Gmitter knew most growers wouldn’t experiment with “raw materials” – plant offspring used to identify that possible one in 5,000 winner. Growers rarely make a profit from such experiments. Hammond took a …