Struggle, Not Surrender

Florida’s Citrus Industry Still a Vital Economic Force

by RUTH BORGER, UF/IFAS correspondent

Despite challenges from diseases, land development trends, and extreme weather, Florida’s citrus industry contributed $6.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2020-21. A just-released report from University of Florida economists, “2020-2021 Economic Contributions of the Florida Citrus Industry,” estimates the economic contributions for the most recent citrus marketing season for which data are available.

Citrus juice manufacturing remains the largest factor in the overall economic contributions of the industry, per the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program’s (EIAP) report. Contributing to the $6.935 billion total are:

  • $5.334 billion from citrus juice manufacturing
  • $1.425 billion from citrus fruit production
  • $177 million for fresh citrus marketing

The citrus industry supports a total of 32,542 full-time and part-time jobs in the state. Total value-added contributions, estimated at $2.841 billion, represent the industry’s contribution to Gross State Product. Labor income contributions amounted to $1.6 billion, representing earnings by employees and business owners throughout Florida’s economy.

Citrus’ support of local communities remains significant, as well, with total state and local tax contributions of $151 million.

Comparing the overall economic contributions of the Florida citrus industry in 2019-20 with the 2020-21 period using updated data and methods, employment increased by 0.2%, labor income increased by 5.8%, value added increased by 3.4%, and industry output increased by 2.8% in constant dollar terms.

“This report is completed on an annual basis not only to measure the level of economic activity within the citrus industry but also to demonstrate the importance of this industry’s relationships with other sectors of the economy,” says Julio Cruz, graduate research assistant in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.

Christa Court, director of EIAP and assistant professor of regional economics, added that the true value of this year’s report lies in the story it will help tell next year.

“The estimates for the 2020-21 citrus season are particularly important because it can be thought of as a baseline season prior to the multiple adverse weather-related events that the industry endured in 2022,” she said, referencing two cold snaps and two hurricanes in the main citrus-producing areas of the state across the calendar year.

Although the economic contributions were largest in the agriculture (fruit production) and manufacturing (juice processing) sectors, the overall citrus industry also has significant contributions in many other sectors due to supply chain relationships and household spending of income that are captured by the indirect and induced multiplier effects in the regional economic model. The economic contribution estimates reported were based on published values and official industry statistics.

Estimates of the regional economic contributions of the industry include multiplier effects that measure the economic activity in other sectors supported through supply chain spending and the spending of income directly or indirectly associated with the sale of Florida citrus products. 

The report was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus.

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