Five Factors Impacting Florida Citrus

• With consumers engaging in pandemic pantry preparation, the demand for OJ surged 13 percent in mid-March 2020.

• While demand is there, increasing costs of fertilizer, insecticides, and transportation are creating higher input costs for Florida growers and making it harder for them to compete with global competitors.

• In 2019, it was estimated that Brazil and Mexico exported between 145-164 million gallons of frozen concentrate and not from concentrate OJ, well over the current market demand.

• Excessive global imports have suppressed Florida grower prices in subsequent seasons.

• Border restrictions in 2020 further compounded the issue of farm labor shortages in the U.S.

• Florida growers faced increasing demand with limited access to skilled labor.

• While useful to many, the H-2A program is a complicated and expensive process, adding pressure to grove owners who are looking to secure adequate labor during peak seasons.

• Florida commercial citrus acreage shrank to 419,542 acres as of the 2019-2020 growing season—a 44 percent decline from the 748,555 acres in 2004, prior to citrus greening disease being discovered in the U.S.

• The drop rate for Valencia oranges increased five percent from 2019 to 2020.

• Potential solutions include advanced nutritional supplements, reflective mulch, heat treatments, bactericides, and biotechnologies.

• The Florida citrus belt is centered at a crossroads of severe storms that come from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

• In 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed tens of thousands of trees, resulting in an estimated 50 percent decline in the 2017-2018 Florida citrus crop.

• The areas of Florida citrus production that experienced the largest rates of decline were where Irma had the greatest impact.

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