Citrus Involved in Re-Open Florida Task Force

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, Regulation

Two citrus industry representatives participated last week in a Re-Open Florida Task Force working group created by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp and Matt Joyner of Florida Citrus Mutual served on a panel representing agriculture, finance, government, healthcare, management and professional services. It is one of several working groups that will inform the … Read More

N95 Mask Shortage for Pesticide Applicators

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, Pesticides

According to Laurie Hurner, Highlands County Extension director and citrus Extension agent, some Florida growers have reported a shortage of N95 respirator masks. Hurner said many growers use those masks for pesticide application. Such masks have reportedly been in short supply for medical personnel nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With the COVID-19 virus, it is getting more and more difficult … Read More

UF/IFAS Working Through COVID-19

Ernie NeffAll In For Citrus Podcast, COVID-19

Whether in the field or from home, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus staffers are working for growers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred, tells how. “We still are doing business right now,” Rogers says. “IFAS continues to provide support in any way … Read More

Surveys on Pandemic’s Impacts to Florida Ag

Tacy CalliesAgriculture, COVID-19, Survey

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) will conduct surveys to better understand how measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are impacting Florida agriculture and marine industries. Faculty from the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics (FRE) department are deploying surveys to UF/IFAS Extension agents and industry professionals to capture this important information. Citrus growers and … Read More

USDA Coronavirus Program to Assist Ag

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, financial

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on April 17 announced a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to help agriculturists and consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $19 billion program is intended to provide support to farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of the food supply chain and ensure every American has access to needed food. The program will use … Read More

Hauling Limits Lifted for Citrus

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, Regulation

citrus crop forecast

Citrus has been added to the list of agricultural commodities for which truck size and weight restrictions have been lifted in the face of COVID-19. A Florida Department of Transportation enforcement bulletin issued April 13 stated that citrus and the other commodities for which restrictions were lifted had been identified by Florida’s agriculture commissioner and approved by Florida’s secretary of … Read More

FDACS Launches COVID-19 Webpage

Ernie NeffCOVID-19

There’s now a one-stop webpage for Florida growers to keep up with COVID-19 food and agriculture-related information. The Keep Florida Growing webpage was launched April 13 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). “With COVID-19 deeply affecting not only Floridians but also agriculture, our state’s second-largest economic driver, we’re launching a new one-stop page to support consumers … Read More

How to Donate Citrus to California Food Banks

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, COVID-19

In California as well as nationally, food banks are experiencing a significant increase in demand due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) Farm to Family (F2F) program accepts donations of fresh produce year-round. CAFB will coordinate the distribution to 41 food banks across the state, which then supply local community food banks and other … Read More

COVID-19 Citrus Damage to Top $200 Million

Ernie NeffCOVID-19

The chief executives of three large U.S. citrus grower associations estimate that “the immediate COVID-19 impact to certain varieties of citrus will be over $200 million.” Casey Creamer of California Citrus Mutual, Dale Murden of Texas Citrus Mutual and Mike Sparks of Florida Citrus Mutual offered that economic damage assessment in an April 9 letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny … Read More

Citrus Sales Surge During COVID-19

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, Orange Juice, sales

Sales of Florida citrus and juice jumped during the COVID-19 pandemic in March, The Ledger newspaper in Lakeland reported. The newspaper cited a Nielsen report that not-from-concentrate OJ sales climbed 28 percent for the 4-week period ending March 21. The surge followed approximately two decades of  OJ sales declines. Consumers appear to focus on OJ’s heavy vitamin C content in … Read More

COVID-19 Advice for Farms and Packinghouses

Tacy CalliesCOVID-19

Laural Dunn, assistant professor in the University of Georgia Department of Food Science & Technology, offers some tips on how farms and packinghouses can best handle COVID-19.   Dunn says producers should educate workers on COVID-19 symptoms, how it spreads and how to reduce the spread of the disease. She recommends sharing these University of Georgia Cooperative Extension guidelines with … Read More

Paycheck Protection Program Can Offer Help

Ernie NeffCOVID-19, financial

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has advised growers and other agriculture-related businesses they can apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program is part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. The PPP loans are designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses … Read More

COVID-19 Guidance From FDACS

Ernie NeffCOVID-19

In response to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issuing a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried explained why agriculture can continue working. “Florida’s farmers and ranchers put food on the tables of our neighbors across the state and nation,” Fried stated in a media release issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). … Read More

COVID-19 Info for Agriculture

Ernie NeffAgriculture, COVID-19

Important information for agriculture related to the COVID-19 pandemic was issued from numerous sources this week. A brief summary of some of the information follows. Ray Royce, executive director of Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, addressed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order that went into effect at midnight on April 2. “All agricultural and agricultural support activities are considered essential … Read More

Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 and Florida Agriculture

Daniel Cooperbusiness, COVID-19, financial, Florida

florida

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick held a town hall meeting on Thursday with the state’s agriculture community on pressing issues. Some of the topics of discussion included: Ensuring agriculture and all related industries are essential at the federal, state and local levels. Promoting the continued and efficient processing of H-2A worker visas. Inter- and intra-state weight waivers for … Read More