Florida orange crop is in trouble.

The primary agriculture commissioner in Florida announced last week that “Florida is synonymous with citrus, and without immediate and tangible support, as well as a long-term solution, Florida is facing the prospect of losing its signature crop and it’s more than $10 billion economic impact.”
The Florida orange crop of 69 million boxes is nearly 30 percent below last year’s crop of 96.7 million boxes and represents a decline of more than 71 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 seasons. It appears a sneaky bacterium is the culprit which is a citrus greening disease, also known as “Yellow Dragon Disease” and abbreviated as HLB. It is a citrus disease caused by a vector-transmitted pathogen.
The Commissioner also announced a multifaceted plan to provide Florida growers with more immediate support until a permanent solution is developed. That plan includes, among other things, a cost-sharing program for the removal or destruction of abandoned citrus groves to eliminate material that harbors citrus greening and the vector that spread the bacterial disease. Researchers in several states are currently focusing on developing bactericides to reduce/suppress the transmission and eliminate infections in existing trees.
It looks like Texas and Arizona will be able to take advantage of Florida’s loss this year and the next few years to come.

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