Irma Agriculture Losses Continue to Mount

Daniel CooperCitrus, Industry News Release

Florida’s $2.5 billion request for federal disaster relief for its agriculture industry after Hurricane Irma might not be enough. Members of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness said on Nov. 16 that month-old damage estimates made by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are too low. “I actually think your numbers are conservative,” said Rep. …

citrus growers

Mutual on November Crop Forecast and Hurricane Aid

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, hurricane

“In the wake of Hurricane Irma, it is extremely difficult to estimate the size of this year’s crop,” Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks said soon after the latest citrus crop forecast was issued on Nov. 9. “In reality, we probably won’t have an accurate number until the middle of 2018 once all fruit is picked. Long term, the effects …


Some Rootstocks Succumbed to Irma

Ernie Neffhurricane, Rootstocks

Researchers inspecting their groves at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center after Hurricane Irma found that trees on certain rootstocks were very likely to be uprooted. Fernando Alferez, a horticulturist at the Immokalee center, discusses the uprooted trees and hopes he has for fresh citrus growing. “This is anecdotal evidence from our experience here,” Alferez says. “What we saw …


In Peace River, ‘No Giving Up’ After Hurricane

Ernie NeffCrop Forecast, hurricane

Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Steve Smith reacts to the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citrus crop forecast of the season and says growers are focused on recovering from Hurricane Irma. He says the forecast of 54 million boxes of Florida oranges “was a little higher than I anticipated, considering the extent of the damage across …


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 …


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 …


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 …

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. …

$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 …


Federal Program Provides Help for Irma Storm Damage

Josh McGillWeather

Release from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service If your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind­storms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect …


Asian Citrus Psyllid Alert: Post-Irma Control Needed

Tacy CalliesPsyllids

By Phil Stansly Impact on Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations: Psyllids that survived the storm will find plenty of food thanks to a huge flush that is following defoliation from the hurricane. This and almost ideal temperature conditions will spawn an explosion of ACP, starting with the first post-Irma generation less than three weeks after the storm. By five weeks and …

Putnam: Hurricane Relief Requires ‘Act of Congress’

Ernie Neffhurricane

Federal assistance for citrus growers in the wake of Hurricane Irma will be more problematic than following past hurricanes, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam told the Florida Citrus Commission on Wednesday. He explains why and updates reports about damage to the citrus crop. “The simple change from 2004-05 is that Congress in the intervening years has taken away the discretion …

Officials Survey Hurricane Damage in Florida

Abbey TaylorWeather

On September 18, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Congressman Tom Rooney ad Senator Marco Rubio flew in a helicopter to get an aerial view of farm damage from Hurricane Irma. Described by Rubio as an “agriculture catastrophe,” the storm ravished many Florida crops. Since many Florida vegetables were not in the ground yet, they …


Hurricane Recovery Hotline for Citrus Growers

Tacy CalliesHLB Management

As growers assess the damage from Hurricane Irma, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus specialists are available to answer their questions related to hurricane recovery practices for HLB-affected citrus groves. To provide answers as quickly as possible, the UF/IFAS Citrus Growers’ Hotline (863-956-8611) has been established for growers to call with their questions. Staff will be answering the …


Hurricane Damage Reports Needed from Citrus Growers

Tacy CalliesCitrus, Legislative, Water

Mike Sparks, executive vice president/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, reports that his association is working with state and federal officials on a financial assistance program to support losses to the Florida citrus crop from Hurricane Irma. “We have been in constant communication with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), as well as the Florida Department of Citrus …


The Relationship Between Roots and OTC Treatments

Daniel CooperHLB Management, Root health

Back in the early days of the HLB fight, it was observed that what is going on underground in citrus tree root systems is just as important as what is happening aboveground. In 2013, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service researchers published that 27% to 40% root loss due …


Moving Beyond Greening

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, Economics

By Tom Spreen When citrus greening was first discovered in Florida, it did not have a profound impact on production. The big news at that time was the multiple hurricanes that had crossed Florida in 2004 and 2005. The hurricanes served to spread citrus canker so sufficiently that the state of Florida was forced to abandon its efforts to eradicate …


Florida OJ Has Solid Share of Consumers

Daniel CooperFlorida, Orange Juice, Research

A significant portion of consumers are drawn to Florida orange juice (OJ) despite recent economic setbacks, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) study shows.  “There is an intrinsic value that consumers have for Florida orange juice. When they think of Florida, orange juice is often part of the imagery,” said Marisa Zansler, director of economic …

Florida Citrus: The Road Back

Tacy CalliesEconomics, Florida

By Tom Spreen The Florida citrus industry has experienced a difficult stretch of years since the record crop year of 2003–04, when over 240 million 90-pound boxes of oranges were produced. INDUSTRY DECLINEIn 2004, multiple hurricanes crisscrossed the Florida peninsula. They were the first hurricanes to hit the citrus-producing area of Florida since Hurricane Dora in 1964. The hurricanes themselves …