Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam called for increased funding to fight citrus greening. USDA just revised its crop estimate for the 2014-2015 season to 103 million boxes of oranges, a decline from the initial forecast released in October.
“Now is the time to put all the resources we can toward fighting citrus greening,” said Putnam. “We must do what we can to save Florida’s signature crop.”
The forecast of 103 million boxes of oranges is down from the initial forecast of 108 million boxes and also a decline from the 104 million boxes produced in 2014, the lowest on record. This represents a total decline of 60% since the peak of citrus production at 254 million boxes in 1997-1998.
“State and federal governments, along with Florida’s citrus growers, have dedicated more than $230 million to support research over the past decade, and there are some promising leads,” Putnam said. “I’ve requested an additional $18 million from the state this year to continue in-depth research, grow clean citrus stock, and replant where diseased trees have been removed.”