Tallahassee, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated projections[ ] for citrus production in the 2020-21 season on Thursday. The June forecast projects a 2% increase for Florida Oranges, a one million box increase to 52.7 million boxes, up from 51.7 million boxes in May. This includes a 3% increase in Florida Valencia Oranges. Florida Grapefruit production is projected to decrease by 100,000 boxes to 4.1 million boxes, and specialty citrus is projected to decrease by 10,000 boxes to 890,000 boxes.
On the revised projections, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried offered the following statement:
“Health-conscious consumers are continuing to fuel demand for citrus and its immunity-boosting properties, and Florida’s citrus growers are meeting that demand with the world’s finest citrus. I’m glad to see Florida restored as the nation’s leading producer of oranges, as we hope for a strong finish to the season for grapefruit and specialty citrus. We at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are proud to continue supporting our state’s citrus growers with ongoing funding, research, innovation and partnership.”
Commissioner Fried has been a strong advocate for Florida’s citrus industry, helping secure vital citrus funding in the 2020-21 state budget. This included $8 million for citrus research projects, $7.4 million for citrus health and fighting pests and diseases, and $19.2 million to pay outstanding Citrus Canker claims to Lee County. In the 2021-22 state budget, Fried requested $14 million to support Florida citrus production, health, and research. Fried also helped establish a state direct-support organization to manage the Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRAFT) program, planting 5,000 new acres of citrus groves using experimental techniques, and fought against the Trump Administration’s decision to allow imported Chinese citrus in direct competition with Florida citrus.