TALLAHASSEE — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its updated citrus crop forecast for the 2016-2017 season:
“Because of citrus greening, production of our state’s signature crop is down 70 percent from 20 years ago. The future of Florida citrus, and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports, depends on a long-term solution in the fight against greening. Our brightest minds are working to find a solution, but until then, we must support our growers and provide them every tool available to combat this devastating disease.”
The USDA’s forecast of 71 million boxes of oranges for the 2016-2017 season is down more than 12 percent from the 81.5 million boxes harvested last season. This forecast represents a decline of more than 70 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
In support of Florida’s growers and industry groups seeking approval from the EPA for the use of certain antimicrobial treatments to combat greening, Commissioner Putnam issued a crisis declaration in 2016 regarding their Section 18 application to the Environmental Protection Agency, which allowed the immediate use of these treatments.
Commissioner Putnam has requested more than $17 million in state funding to continue critical research and support Florida’s citrus industry.
—Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
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