Hurricane Season Forecast Updated to ‘Extremely Active’

Ernie Neffhurricane

Atmospheric and oceanic conditions are primed to fuel storm development in the Atlantic, leading to what could be an “extremely active” season. So say forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in its August update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, initially issued in May. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a rapid pace with a … Read More

Hurricane Hanna Harms Texas Citrus

Ernie Neffhurricane

The Texas citrus industry is still assessing the damage from Hurricane Hanna, which hit the state on July 25. “Current estimates suggest a 30 percent crop loss,” said Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual and a citrus grower. “There were no damages to packing and processing facilities, and we do not anticipate any issues with processing this season. We … Read More

New Hurricane Guide for Citrus Growers

Ernie Neffhurricane

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences citrus horticulturist Fernando Alferez and multi-county citrus Extension agent Mongi Zekri co-authored a new document on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hurricane Preparation and Recovery Commodity Guides website. The Citrus Producers Guide includes long- and short-term recommendations for building resilience to hurricanes in citrus groves, nurseries and citrus under protective screens … Read More

Busy Hurricane Season Projected by NOAA

Ernie Neffhurricane, Weather


An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. An above-average Atlantic hurricane season was also predicted more than a month earlier by both Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers and AccuWeather. See those predictions. The NOAA outlook predicts a … Read More

Active Hurricane Season Predicted

Ernie Neffhurricane


An above-average Atlantic hurricane season was recently predicted by both Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers and AccuWeather. The CSU researchers cited the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor in its prediction. “Tropical and subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently warmer than their long-term average values and are consequently also considered a factor favoring an active … Read More

Reps. Yoho, Soto Call on USDA to Stabilize Florida Orange Juice Market

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release, Orange Juice

orange juice

Reps. Ted. S Yoho (FL-03) and Darren Soto (FL-09) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture increase funding for orange juice purchases in Florida to $90 million, doubling the initial allocation from this past summer.  After Hurricane Irma, Florida orange production dropped precipitously from 68.7 million boxes in 2017 to 45 million boxes … Read More

Federal Money Flowing to Citrus Growers

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release

florida all

Florida has reached the halfway point in dispensing a $343 million federal grant it received for citrus growers who sustained damage in Hurricane Irma two years ago, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I think that that’s been much-needed relief,” DeSantis said of the $173 million that has been distributed, mostly since he took office in January. “We’re going to continue … Read More

Citrus Industry Dodges Hurricane Dorian

Ernie Neffhurricane


“This was a big miracle,” Indian River Citrus League Executive Vice President Doug Bournique said late Wednesday morning after Hurricane Dorian had passed Florida’s Citrus Belt. He said while assessments were still being made, there apparently was only minimal leaf and fruit loss in the Indian River region. The Indian River area was the closest Florida citrus-growing region to Dorian, … Read More

Indian River Expects Minor Hurricane Damage

Ernie Neffhurricane


Florida’s Indian River area lies on the Atlantic Ocean and was the nearest Florida citrus region to Hurricane Dorian late Tuesday morning. Doug Bournique, Indian River Citrus League executive vice president, was optimistic that the region would escape major damage. “It looks like it’s going to track about 80 to 100 miles off the coastline, which is wonderful for our … Read More

Hurricane Preparedness for Citrus Groves

Daniel Cooperhurricane

By Mongi Zekri, Robert E. Rouse, and Jonathan H. Crane Each year, growers look forward to the rainy season because it helps their young trees grow fast and their mature trees produce good crops. Growers hope for good distribution of rains following the usual dry spring season. However, along with the anticipation of the rainy season, there is also the … Read More

Millions in Agricultural Crops at Risk as Dorian Approaches Florida

Daniel CooperCitrus, Grapefruit, hurricane, Industry News Release, Weather


GIf Hurricane Dorian makes landfall mid-way up Florida’s Atlantic Coast – as many models predicted Thursday afternoon – the storm could devastate not only Central Florida tourist destinations, but also the region’s agricultural areas, which include significant acreage devoted to citrus, vegetable, ornamental plant and cattle production. Economists and Extension faculty with the University of Florida Institute of Food and … Read More

Growers Should Have a Hurricane Plan

Ernie Neffhurricane

The 2019 hurricane season is well underway. Florida’s citrus industry hasn’t been threatened yet, but several months of the season remain. Multi-county citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt suggests that growers be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane. “Have a plan; work that plan,” he says. Oswalt offers several ways growers can be prepared for a severe storm. “If you … Read More

Governor DeSantis Announces Approval of More Than $77 Million to Citrus Growers Impacted by Hurricane Irma

Daniel CooperCitrus, financial, hurricane, Industry News Release


Bonita Springs, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has approved more than $77 million in payments to citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma through the Citrus Recovery Block Grant since January 2019. Upon taking office, Governor DeSantis directed FDEM to disburse hurricane recovery funding as quickly as possible, including providing field staff to … Read More

Florida Senators Fight for Disaster Dollars

Abbey TaylorCitrus, hurricane, Legislative


Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Citrus Belt in 2017. Federal disaster relief funding was approved in early 2018, but many Florida citrus growers have yet to receive those funds. Several industry leaders and groups have been advocating for growers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. Now, Florida senators are joining the fight. Senator Ben Albritton, chairman of the Florida Senate Agriculture … Read More

Hurricane Irma: Relief Update and Frustration

Ernie Neffhurricane

Representatives of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) updated the Florida Citrus Commission Wednesday on Hurricane Irma reimbursements from the Citrus Recovery Block Grant. They heard from some commissioners concerned that growers have been waiting a long time for relief funds for the storm that hit Florida hard in September 2017. Commission Chairman Ellis Hunt told the representatives there … Read More

Peace River Growers Discuss Current Issues

Ernie Neffhurricane

Fruit size, Hurricane Irma relief funds and replanting were among issues addressed at a recent grower roundtable meeting in Arcadia. Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Kait Shaw summarized some of the discussion. Regarding fruit size, she said, “Hamlins in particular are very small this year, but even the Valencias. I just don’t think the fruit is as … Read More

Nutrients, Hurricane Impact and Production

Ernie Neffhurricane


Grower and tree hedger Frank Youngman was among the attendees at a Feb. 28 grower forum in Sebring, Florida. He discussed nutrition, Hurricane Irma’s impact, tree condition and production. Youngman said nutrients are “the key factor in what we’re seeing as far as tree quality, also fruit quality, and the ability for the trees to maintain the fruit throughout the … Read More

Citrus Recovery Money Starts to Flow

Daniel Cooperfinancial, hurricane, Industry News Release


Florida is starting to distribute federal disaster-relief money that was approved last year to help the citrus industry after Hurricane Irma caused massive damage to groves. Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said Wednesday that the state recently awarded $14 million from a $343 million federal block grant for the industry and continues to process and … Read More

Hurricane Relief Update from Sparks

Ernie Neffhurricane

Florida citrus growers have long expressed frustration with the delay in getting government aid for damages they suffered from Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017. “We are at Florida Citrus Mutual certainly as frustrated as the Florida citrus growers,” Mutual CEO Mike Sparks said this week. “And, yes, we hear often from individuals” who are frustrated by the time … Read More

Block Grant Administrator to Visit Florida Citrus Industry

Tacy Calliesfinancial, hurricane

florida citrus

According to Mike Sparks, Florida Citrus Mutual executive vice president/CEO, Block Grant Administrator Elias Mathes will be in the Florida citrus industry next week and available to discuss the status and/or payment of growers’ block grant claims. Locations and time frames are as follows: Jan. 23, Bartow, Citrus Mutual Offices, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 24, Sebring, Highlands … Read More