TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On December 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated projections for citrus production in the 2020-21 season. The December forecast projects a 2 percent decrease in production, with a projected 56 million boxes of Florida Oranges, 4.4 million boxes of Florida Grapefruit, and 1.1 million boxes of specialty citrus.
In October, the USDA had projected 57 million boxes of oranges and 4.5 million boxes of grapefruit. On the revised projections, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried offered the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that consumers are seeking to boost their immunity, turning to the health benefits that Florida citrus. With citrus as a powerful source of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, Florida’s citrus growers are working hard to fulfill market demand for oranges, grapefruit, and specialty citrus. With these projections in line with an expected smaller 2020-21 citrus crop, we at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stand ready to support our proud citrus growers with research, innovation, and partnership.”
Commissioner Fried has been a strong advocate for Florida citrus and has continued to demonstrate support for the industry by helping secure vital funding in the FY 2020-21 budget, including $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. Fried also helped establish a state direct-support organization to manage the new Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRAFT) program, which will plant 5,000 new acres of citrus groves using experimental techniques.