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New forecast total for 22-23 season for Florida oranges reduced to 18 million boxes

Hurricane Ian Florida Agriculture
File photo
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WGCU
Oranges rot on the ground Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, at Roy Petteway's Citrus and Cattle Farm after they were knocked off the trees from the effects of Hurricane Ian in Zolfo Springs, Fla. The USDA’s January forecast for all Florida oranges decreased by 2 million boxes, bringing the new forecast total for the 22-23 season to 18 million boxes.

The USDA’s January forecast for all Florida oranges decreased by 2 million boxes, bringing the new forecast total for the 22-23 season to 18 million boxes.

The USDA also forecast a slight decrease in Florida grapefruit production, projecting 300,000 less boxes, for a new season total of 1.5 million boxes.

“Today’s forecast is another sobering reminder that Florida’s citrus industry faces real challenges – like citrus greening, rising costs to growers and consumers due to inflation, and ongoing hurricane recovery efforts," Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson said. "The continued decline of Florida citrus has impacts well beyond the grove, as so many of our rural communities are interwoven with citrus production. However, I am confident that Florida will meet these challenges head on with a commonsense approach to support our state’s growers and world-renowned citrus industry.”

According to WFTS in Tampa, the department's January’s Florida citrus forecast is down 10% from the already-dismal forecast in December.

A report from the station said that last year’s Florida orange harvest was the worst since World War II, and if the new forecast proves true, 2023’s harvest could be even worse.

“If realized, this will be 56 percent less than last season’s final production,” the report warns.

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