Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its monthly citrus crop forecast for the 2016-2017 season, which is down four-percent from the February forecast:
“Although not unexpected, today’s historically low forecast is the latest example of citrus greening’s continued devastation of Florida’s citrus industry. Until a long-term solution is discovered, which some of our state’s brightest minds are working on, we must support Florida’s multi-billion dollar citrus industry and the more than 60,000 jobs it supports.”
The USDA’s forecast today of 67 million boxes of oranges for the 2016-2017 season is down more than 17 percent from the 81.5 million boxes harvested last season. Today’s 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, a bacterial disease spread by a tiny, invasive insect, 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.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.