Amid Citrus Woes, Florida Citrus Commission Adjusts Budget
The Florida Citrus Commission on Wednesday made a second budget revision of the growing season to account for the industry’s drop in production.
The commission adjusted the Florida Department of Citrus budget by just over $776,000, much of which was money shifted out of reserves.
The Department of Citrus is funded in part through a per-box tax on growers - five cents per box of fresh oranges, 12 cents per box of processed oranges, and 7 cents per box for grapefruit and specialty fruit - so it takes no accounting magic to recognize the shortfall. The latest forecast is expected to reduce anticipated tax collections, with production on pace to be the lowest since the 1929-1930 season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture just this month reduced the forecast for Florida orange production by 29-percent, grapefruit production by 10-percent and specialty fruits by 14.
In response, Shannon Shepp, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Citrus has stated, “The December crop forecast reflects the very real challenges that Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Nicole, and the ongoing impacts of Citrus greening have created for growers across the state, but we remain hopeful and motivated to secure the future of our industry.”