CRAFT Foundation Has New Leader

Daniel CooperCRAFT

Steven Hall on July 8 succeeded Tamara Wood as executive director/program manager of the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation. Wood will return to her former full-time employer Florida Citrus Mutual after a short period helping with the transition to Hall. Hall most recently served as assistant deputy commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), …


Supporting Citrus Science

Daniel CooperResearch

By Rob Gilbert,, @IFAS_VP Let’s start with the most important thing. Citrus science remains a top priority of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Citrus is special. My goal for citrus is sustainability. That means profitability. Here are a few new ways UF/IFAS has demonstrated its support for citrus science during the past five …

farm bill

Farm Bill Frameworks Favorable for Citrus

Daniel CooperFarm Bill, Legislative

Last week, Glenn “GT” Thompson, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, unveiled an outline of the bipartisan policies and priorities of the 2024 farm bill. The legislation, scheduled to be marked up by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture on May 23, holds the key to crucial resources for various agricultural commodities, including Florida’s citrus industry. On the …


Grower Panel: OTC a Net Positive So Far

Daniel CooperEvents, HLB Management

Florida Citrus Mutual recently hosted a roundtable discussion about the performance of trunk-injection therapies as growers are making their second round of applications. The grower participants included Jim Snively, Southern Gardens Citrus; Glenn Beck, Beck Bros. Citrus and Wes Soria, Sorrells Citrus. University of Florida scientist Ute Albrecht also joined the panel to provide a research update. Rick Dantzler, chief …


Florida Budget Includes $47 Million for Citrus

Daniel Cooperfinancial, Florida, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently reported that the Florida Legislature’s fiscal year 2024–25 budget includes $47 million to aid the state’s citrus industry. The funding for various programs is: Additionally, the Florida Legislature’s budget includes a $100 million annual appropriation for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which aims to protect working agricultural operations from development by establishing conservation easements. …


CITRUS NURSERY SOURCE: A Day of Learning About New Rootstocks and Varieties

Daniel CooperCitrus Nursery Source, Rootstocks, Varieties

By Peter Chaires The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory and Florida Citrus Research Foundation (FCRF) jointly held an open house, variety display and field tour at the W.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm between Leesburg and Groveland in early December. This annual event provides a great opportunity for industry members to see the latest innovations in …


Ag Groups Want Changes to Emergency Relief Program

Daniel Cooperfinancial, hurricane, Legislative

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) was among more than 140 U.S. agriculture organizations that recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revise the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for 2022. In 2022, President Biden signed into law appropriations legislation providing $3.74 billion in ERP assistance to agricultural producers impacted by numerous natural disasters in 2022. FFVA and …

speech contest

Julia C. Black Memorial Speech Contest and Scholarship Announced

Daniel CooperEducation, Scholarship

Florida Citrus Mutual has announced its inaugural Julia C. Black Memorial Speech Contest and Scholarship. Its intent is to encourage students to learn more about Florida’s agriculture industry, specifically Florida citrus, and to support high school students with scholarship funds. The application deadline for students in grades 9–12 is Dec. 30, 2023. The speech contest will include two phases: district …

Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Inductees Named for 2024

Daniel CooperAwards

The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2024 inductees. They are Robert M. “Bob” Behr of New Smyrna Beach, George H. Streetman of Vero Beach and Leland K. Young, formerly of Bartow. They will be inducted March 1, 2024, along with the Class of 2023 inductees. The induction ceremonies and a luncheon will be held at …

Disaster Aid Update From Florida Citrus Mutual

Josh McGillhurricane, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently announced that the Block Grant Assistance Act failed to receive the three-fifths of votes needed to pass in the U.S. Senate. The House passed the act in June. The bill would provide needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue block grants to growers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. FCM recognized …

PIECES OF THE PAST: Beauty Is on the Inside

Josh McGillPieces of the Past

By Brenda Eubanks Burnette A.B. Michael was known as the “Dean of the Citrus Industry.” His Orchid Island fruit consistently won awards for its high quality. He was a major proponent of fruit for its taste and appearance. Michael was one of the first to institute grading standards in the packinghouses he ran. Here are a few excerpts from a …

Keller Is CRAFT Scientific Coordinator

Josh McGillCRAFT

The Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation recently hired Carisa Keller to serve as the organization’s scientific coordinator. The Highlands County resident previously worked as director of sustainability for Alico. “As CRAFT continues to grow, it’s imperative that we continue to build a team that is ready and able to support the demands of the program,” said CRAFT Executive …

PIECES OF THE PAST: The Power of Pictures

Josh McGillMiss Florida Citrus, Pieces of the Past

By Brenda Eubanks Burnette This year, John Fuller, the new global marketing manager for the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), and Matt Joyner, executive vice president/chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, served on the panel of judges for the Miss Florida Citrus/Miss Winter Haven Competition. It was interesting to introduce them both to this iconic, grassroots promotional program that …

Growers Get Update on Federal Relief Programs at Expo

Josh McGillCitrus Expo, Legislative

Matt Joyner, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM), reported that a group of Florida citrus growers spoke to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency representatives about federal relief programs at the recent Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo. The Expo was held this year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. “This year’s …

Efforts Continue to Obtain Federal Funding for Hurricane Relief

Josh McGillfinancial, hurricane

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) reported that Congress was expected to receive a supplemental funding request from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in early August. “We worked with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to craft a letter urging (OMB) Director Shalanda Young to include relief for Florida’s farmers in their (OMB) request,” FCM Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer …

Citrus Commission Chairman: Marketing Programs Work

Josh McGillFlorida Citrus Commission, Florida Department of Citrus, Marketing

Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) Chairman Steve Johnson recently shared his thoughts on the Florida Department of Citrus’ (FDOC) marketing programs. “As the budget has decreased over the past couple of years, and into next year, the FCC has placed a stronger emphasis on the need for the FDOC to utilize data to track their programs,” said Johnson. “Performance has played …

State Legislature Supports Florida Citrus

Josh McGillFlorida, Legislative

Landon Hoffman, director of government affairs for Florida Citrus Mutual, recently provided a recap of Florida legislative actions impacting the citrus industry: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget, which goes into effect on July 1. This year’s budget included more than $65 million to support Florida citrus, the highlight being more than $30 million for the CRAFT (Citrus …

Highlights from the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference

Josh McGillEvents, Florida Citrus Mutual

Florida Citrus Mutual provided a summary of its Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference held in June: After a year full of challenges, the 2023 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference once again offered an opportunity for more than 500 growers, allied members, family and friends to come together and focus on the highlights of the year and the promise of better …

florida all

CRDF Research Priorities Include Trunk-Injection Therapy

Josh McGillCRDF, Research

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) held its June board of directors meeting in conjunction with Florida Citrus Mutual’s Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs. The June gathering is when the CRDF board passes its budget for the next year. The board funded a project by Zhanao Deng, professor of environmental horticulture with the University of Florida …