Freeze Alerts by Phone for California Citrus Growers

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Weather

Freeze alerts by phone will be available this winter for California citrus growers. California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is implementing a new system to help Central Valley growers stay updated on freeze alerts. Growers can sign up for text notifications to be alerted when the CCM Central Valley Weather Watch forecast is updated. This will include updates during critical nights. To … Read More

Grower: Forecast Is Too High, but Future Optimistic

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast


Grower Kevin Shelfer of Joshua Citrus lacks confidence in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initial 54 million-box forecast for Florida oranges. “I feel like the (USDA) number is way higher than what I personally think it is,” he says. “I had in mind it would probably be in the mid-30s to 40 (million boxes).” He expects to see further declines … Read More

USDA Responds to Skepticism About Citrus Forecast

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast

The season’s initial U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citrus crop forecast for Florida, issued Oct. 12, was met with skepticism soon after being released. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Florida Citrus Mutual both expressed concern that the 54 million-box Florida orange projection did not adequately reflect damage created by Hurricane Irma. Mutual, the state’s largest citrus grower organization, … Read More

Tell Senators to Pursue Disaster Relief Funding for Florida Agriculture

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release


In response to the recent wave of hurricanes pummeling our shores, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster relief package last week. However, USDA-specific relief funding for Florida agriculture was not included. Hurricane Irma was the largest, most powerful hurricane recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, engulfing the entire state and leaving behind $2.5 billion in agricultural damage. … Read More

Jonathan Brown Discusses Crop Forecast, Irma Damage

Ernie NeffForecast, hurricane


Citrus grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms in Arcadia reacts to the Oct. 12 initial U.S. Department of Agriculture citrus crop forecast of 54 million boxes of Florida oranges. He also discusses damage from Hurricane Irma. “I was a little bit impressed that it (the forecast) came out where it did,” Brown says. “I was kind of expecting it to … Read More

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee Hears About Citrus Damage

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Legislative, Weather

Citrus was a hot topic Thursday morning during the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee meeting in Tallahassee to discuss hurricane damage to Florida agriculture. Led by Chairperson Denise Grimsley, the committee heard from two sets of panelists as they explained the damage in their respective industries. The Florida Department of Citrus was represented by citrus grower Ellis Hunt in one of … Read More

Hurricane Irma Impact on Florida Orange Production

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast, Industry News Release


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) included forecasts of the United States and Florida 2017-2018 orange production in the Crop Production report released Oct. 12, 2017.  The report does not directly forecast the impact of Hurricane Irma on the 2017-2018 production. Although it is difficult to know the exact impact on the potential crop production, the … Read More

HCCGA Executive Director on Citrus Crop Forecast

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast


When the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its crop forecast on Thursday, some were a bit surprised at the all-orange total for Florida coming in at 54 million boxes. A large portion of this report was put together before Hurricane Irma hit the state. AgNet Media’s Josh McGill talked with Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers … Read More

Mutual Updates Efforts to Obtain Hurricane Irma Aid

Ernie Neffhurricane


Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows updates the grower association’s efforts to obtain aid for growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma. “It’s been a month since Irma hit, and we at Mutual have been very busy understanding the gravity of the situation and communicating that with our congressional delegation and leaders with the USDA,” Meadows says. “Everybody that needs … Read More

FCM Says Irma Damage Threw Off USDA Citrus Crop Estimate

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast


Florida’s largest citrus grower organization said Thursday the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) initial estimate of the 2017-2018 citrus crop is well above the crop predicted by the results of their grower damage survey. Florida Citrus Mutual believes the agency could not accurately account for the full extent of the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma. Historically, the USDA has a … Read More

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Putnam on First Citrus Crop Forecast of the Season

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast


Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its initial citrus crop forecast for the 2017-2018 season: “Hurricane Irma’s path could not have been more lethal to Florida citrus. I am concerned that today’s forecast does not accurately estimate the damages to our industry, given that groves are still underwater … Read More

Citrus Crop Forecast: Florida All Oranges at 54 Million Boxes

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast


The 2017-2018 Florida all-orange forecast released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is 54 million boxes, 21 percent less than last season’s final production. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Florida Citrus Mutual both issued statements indicating they are concerned that the forecast did not accurately account for the full damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma. Listen to the … Read More

Putnam Questions Citrus Estimate After Irma

Daniel CooperCitrus, Crop Forecast


Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam cast doubt Wednesday on the first crop estimate for the citrus growing season, as federal officials prepare to release the estimate Thursday. In Washington, D.C. to discuss federal assistance after Hurricane Irma, Putnam suggested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for the 2017-2018 growing season may be too high. “I put zero stock in … Read More

Commissioner Putnam Releases Initial Hurricane Damage Estimate

Abbey TaylorIndustry News Release, Weather

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has released an initial estimate on agriculture damage from Hurricane Irma. The estimate will serve as a baseline for policymakers as they create a disaster relief package for those impacted by the storm. Although these estimates are not final, they are a starting point. The document includes estimates on crop loss and cost of damages. … Read More

FDACS Promotes the Abandoned Grove Initiative

Abbey TaylorPests

Research shows that abandoned citrus groves can harbor unwanted pests and citrus diseases. Therefore, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Bureau of Pest Eradication and Control is raising more awareness about its Abandoned Grove Initiative to help destroy those safe havens for deadly pests. Callie Walker, chief of the FDACS Bureau of Pest Eradication and Control, says … Read More

Gmitter on Surviving HLB, What to Plant and Lemon Potential

Ernie NeffHLB Management


In a wide-ranging talk at Citrus Expo in August, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Fred Gmitter discussed many topics important to growers. Subjects included making variety decisions when planting, surviving HLB, and the potential for lemons in Florida. He summarizes his discussion: “We can give information (about citrus varieties), but we don’t want to give … Read More

$25 Million Citrus Emergency Loan Program

Daniel CooperCitrus, Industry News Release


Governor Rick Scott activated a $25 million Florida Citrus Emergency Loan Program to support citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide interest-free loans to citrus growers that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. The application period will begin next week and be open through … Read More

A Look Back at 100 Years of Citrus Innovation

Tacy CalliesHistory

By Beverly James, Alec Richman, Brad Buck, Samantha Grenrock and Tom Nordlie The year was 1917. In April, the United States entered World War I. Florida’s population was fast approaching 1 million, and agriculture was the state’s most important economic driver. Citrus cultivation, introduced to Florida 400 years earlier by Spanish explorers, had spawned an industry following the Civil War. … Read More

$760 Million: Initial Estimate of Irma’s Florida Citrus Damage

Tacy CalliesCitrus, hurricane

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced on Oct. 4 that the preliminary agricultural damages caused by Hurricane Irma in Florida total more than $2.5 billion. In an initial report, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services estimated losses for each segment of agriculture. The preliminary economic assessments account for current crop losses and ancillary losses, such as … Read More

Fresh Fruit Growers Must Comply with FSMA Regulations

Ernie NeffFSMA, Regulation


Travis Chapin, state specialized Extension agent with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), discusses deadlines and some requirements for fresh fruit growers to comply with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). “The compliance date for the largest farms, those with over $500,000 in annual produce sales, is January 26, 2018,” Chapin says. Growers with … Read More