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 2017-2018 season:
“Florida’s citrus growers are still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s unprecedented damage, which today’s forecast shows is still unfolding in many groves six months later. Thankfully, Congress recently provided more than $2.3 billion for agricultural assistance, a critical first step to finally getting Florida’s growers long-awaited and desperately needed relief. I will continue to work with the leadership of the USDA, Governor Scott, our congressional delegation and industry representatives to get our growers the relief they need to fully recover.”
The USDA’s forecast today of 45 million boxes of oranges for the 2017-2018 season is down 9 million boxes from the 54 million boxes predicted at the start of the season. Today’s forecast represents a decline of more than 80 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam announced that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages. In the weeks following Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam joined Governor Rick Scott in Washington D.C to discuss the agricultural damage and to request federal assistance with Florida’s Congressional Delegation. In February, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a spending bill that included more than $2.3 billion for agricultural assistance.