organic certification

Assistance for Organic Certification Costs

Daniel CooperOrganic

Through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA) will cover up to 75% of organic certification costs at a maximum of $750 per certification category. FSA is now accepting applications. The program provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of organic agricultural commodities for expenses incurred obtaining or maintaining organic …

mexican

Mexican Organic Orchards Offer Better Psyllid Control

Daniel CooperHLB Management, Mexico, Organic

A wider diversity of weeds and insects in organic Mexican citrus orchards compared to conventional orchards aids in control of the HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllid (ACP/Diaphorina citri), a Mexican scientist reported recently. HLB is also known as citrus greening disease.  “In the organic orchard, there are almost double the species of weeds compared to the conventional orchard,” Carlos Castillejos Cruz …

Grower Achieves High Brix and Stops Drop

Josh McGillFruit Drop, Organic, Production

Low Brix has been a major problem plaguing the Florida citrus industry in recent years. While many growers are struggling to achieve the minimum required Brix level, this has not been an issue for citrus grower Chip Henry. He recently shared how he believes his organic production techniques contribute to high Brix as well as stopping premature fruit drop in …

Funding for Existing and Transitioning Organic Producers

Josh McGillOrganic

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional steps being taken to strengthen the market for domestically grown organic goods, and to support producers seeking organic certification. These funding opportunities are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Organic Transition Initiative. The initiative is a suite of offerings to help existing organic producers and those transitioning to organic production and processing. …

organic certification

Aid for Growers Transitioning to Organic Production

Tacy Calliesfinancial, Organic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced details of a $75 million investment in conservation assistance for growers transitioning to organic production. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will dedicate financial and technical assistance to a new organic management standard and partner with new organic technical experts to increase staff capacity and expertise. The effort is part of the multi-agency …

Drought and Freeze Don’t Deter Grower

Josh McGillOrganic, Production, Weather

Apopka citrus grower Chip Henry reports that McGuire Groves received 9.5 inches of rain in March 2022. In March 2023, it received less than half an inch. Portions of Lee, Hendy and Collier counties were in an extreme drought as of April 6, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Many other areas of Florida, including where McGuire Groves is located, …

Organic Juice Company Reports Earth-Friendly Practices

Josh McGillIndustry News Release, Organic

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Uncle Matt’s Organic described how it uses numerous environmentally friendly practices. The company said use of cover crops in its groves helps control weeds and promotes healthy soil. The complex root systems from the cover crops nurture robust biodiversity in the soil. This ecosystem provides water retention, nutrient availability and carbon capture. …

Organic Citrus Sales Decline

Josh McGillOrganic

Fresh organic citrus sales took a downward turn in 2022, posting year-over-year losses in both U.S. dollar sales (-1.6%) and volume sales (-5.2%). The Organic Produce Network, in its State of Organic Produce 2022 report, called that a “stark contrast” to organic citrus’ double-digit sales gains in 2021. Despite the sales downturn, citrus snagged the No. 7 (up from No. …

Orange Light: New Name for Uncle Matt’s Product

Josh McGillIndustry News Release, Orange Juice, Organic

Uncle Matt’s Organic is reintroducing its Matt50™ Orange Juice (OJ) Beverage as Orange Light. Orange Light contains half the sugar and calories as regular OJ. It is boosted with vitamin C, plus prebiotics and probiotics for gut health and immune support. Orange Light is available at Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market locations nationwide and is also available for purchase directly …

Fiberstar Launches Organic Citrus Fiber

Josh McGillIndustry News Release, Organic

Fiberstar, Inc. has launched the Citri-Fi 400 series, a line of organic citrus fibers. The new product line is in response to the increasing demand for natural, sustainable and organic food ingredients. Market drivers fueling the uptick in demand include a growth in consumer health and wellness initiatives and limited availability of hydrocolloids due to supply-chain challenges. Other drivers include …

citrus production

Research to Help Organic Growers Fight HLB

Josh McGillOrganic, Research

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) is intended to advance research to help organic citrus producers fight HLB.   The grant awards $2.03 million to a team of scientists from the University of Florida, Texas A&M University and The Organic Center. The Organic Center is a non-profit organization convening evidence-based science on the …

New Organic Transition Initiative

Josh McGillIndustry News Release, Organic

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment in a new Organic Transition Initiative. The initiative will help build new and better markets and streams of income for growers. The number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic production dropped by nearly 71% since 2008. USDA hopes to reverse this trend, …

Georgia Citrus Association Conference Coming Up

Josh McGillGeorgia, Nutrition, Organic, Production

The Georgia Citrus Association invites growers and industry members to its annual conference on Feb. 28 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes topics like regenerative farming, organic production, nutrient management, winter production and new varieties. “We’re super excited because we didn’t get to have the …

Seeking Psyllid Controls for Organic Citrus

Tacy CalliesOrganic, Psyllids

At the recent California Citrus Conference held in Visalia, Monique Rivera, assistant cooperative Extension specialist at University of California Riverside, presented information about management of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in organic citrus grown in the San Joaquin Valley. “There is consumer demand that needs to be met for organic citrus,” Rivera said. “So there is a quick transition in the …

Mexico Could Increase Organic Citrus Production

Tacy CalliesMexico, Organic

By Francisco Seva Rivadulla Citrus growers in Mexico are beginning to explore types of production that are more respectful of the environment and associated with a healthier lifestyle, including organic production. “The organic citrus sector is still small, as its market share does not reach 5%, but gradually foreign demand is causing organic citrus to have an increasing presence in …

Florida citrus growers

Organic Solutions to Citrus Greening Sought

Tacy CalliesCitrus Greening, Organic

The Organic Center is currently working with the University of Florida, the University of California, Riverside, and several citrus growers and industry members to conduct a national review of how citrus greening disease is impacting organic growers and other industry members.  The information will be used to develop a large-scale holistic research project proposal targeted toward protecting organic citrus growers from citrus …

Uncle Matt’s Organic Returns to Founder

Ernie NeffIndustry News Release, Organic

Uncle Matt’s Organic, a brand of organic orange juice and grapefruit juice, recently reported it “has been welcomed back home to founder and CEO Matt McLean.” Dean Foods purchased the business in June of 2017 “and retained the team to continue running the business, including McLean and his wife, Susan McLean, who oversees marketing,” states a May 11 release. “In …

Innovation in Natural Insect Control for Citrus

Tacy CalliesOrganic, Pesticides

By Chip Henry When I chose to produce citrus organically nearly five years ago, I accepted the responsibility of implementing a nature-based protocol of production for my grove. Subsequently, I searched for products that were available to address the aspects of nutrition, soil health, undesirable vegetation suppression and insect control. The process of “turning over every rock” was imperative, with …

psyllids

Using Organic Insecticides for Psyllid Control

Ernie NeffOrganic, Pests

Organic insecticides rotated with either spray oil or insecticidal soap provided good Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) suppression in long-term studies in Florida, entomologist Jawwad Qureshi reported recently. Qureshi is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee. Suppression of ACP is important because the pest spreads citrus …

citrus greening

Organic Management for HLB

Abbey TaylorCitrus Greening, HLB Management, Organic

By Jaci Schreckengost One of the topics researchers and growers discussed at the 2017 Organic Food & Farming Summit was what can be done organically to combat huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. Florida Organic Growers hosted the summit in Gainesville. It featured many workshops in which researchers and growers could discuss challenges and management practices. Tripti Vashisth, …