Squeeze Play Continues to Plague Florida Citrus Crop
Florida citrus growers are in the final stretch of what’s been a trying 2017-2018 season. In the meantime, the latest citrus crop estimate update from USDA has been released, revealing a slight dip from last month’s report. The revised all-orange number is now at 44.95 million boxes, down 50,000 boxes in non-Valencia varieties. The number for oranges had held steady the previous two forecasts.
Similarly for May, grapefruit production figures also were trimmed another 50,000 boxes. The updated total now stands at 3.95 million boxes, which continues a troubling trend for grapefruit. Last season’s final output was 7.8 million boxes. The previous season finished at 10.85 million boxes. During the 1997-1998 season, grapefruit clocked in at 49.5 million boxes.
Looking ahead to next season, eligible citrus growers are set to receive Hurricane Irma recovery aid to the tune of $340 million as part of a USDA specialty crop block grant, which also is in addition to the $2.36 billion made available through the recently announced 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
“With everything Florida citrus growers have gone through this year, we consider today’s forecast to be relatively stable and not unexpected,” stated Shannon Ross Shepp, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “This is an industry choosing to remain optimistic about the future. And part of that optimism comes from the support we’ve received from policy makers, industry, and consumers.”
The next to last USDA citrus crop estimate for the 2017-2018 season is slated to be delivered June 12.