Florida Still Shines Despite Citrus Woes

The USDA’s final citrus forecast for Florida’s 2022-2023 citrus season marks a grim milestone for those in the industry — 15.9 million boxes of oranges and 1.8 million boxes of grapefruit. Unfortunately, even though the numbers leave a sinking feeling in our stomachs, we can’t say this was unexpected. We’ve been watching the slow slide for decades now, but that doesn’t soften the sting. 

I’ve heard the pundits talking, all but writing the eulogy for the industry here in Florida, but I’m just not ready to close the book yet. This is not the end of the road for Florida agriculture. Our state is a powerhouse of agricultural commodities. 

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida produces:

  • 61 percent of the country’s indoor plants
  • 54 percent of the nation’s fresh-market tomato crop, tying only with California
  • 51 percent of U.S. sugarcane
  • 36 percent of its watermelon (we lead the South)
  • 36 percent of its sweet corn
  • 33 percent of its bell peppers
  • 17 percent of its floriculture sales
  • 12 percent of its strawberries

While those numbers are impressive, that list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Florida’s agricultural riches. From produce to cattle, the state produces more than 300 commodities that generate $7.41 billion. When you take into account agritourism and agribusiness, that total climbs to $160 billion. 

In addition to the perseverance and innovative spirit of ranchers and growers, the community is further supported by the scientists at UF/IFAS who are continuously researching ways to improve farming. 

Make no mistake, greening weighs heavily on the citrus industry, but Florida is far from losings its hard-earned spot among the nation’s top producers. 

This article is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of Central Florida Ag News or of its advertisers.

BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www.DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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