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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's Department of Agriculture released a 180-page report Friday showing that citrus fruits, snap beans and cucumbers grown in the Sunshine State are among the industry's highlights.
The report reveals the sweep of the state's agriculture industry; it's the second-largest industry in the state, behind tourism. Agriculture contributes $104 billion to the state's economy annually and employs 2 million people.
The data used to develop the estimates in the report were provided voluntarily by growers, shippers, and processors.
According to the report, the state of Florida:
Yet Citrus is still the state's leading crop. The value of the state's orange crop continued to rise, with $1.5 billion in sales, up from $1.3 billion the previous year. Citrus growers gave Florida 66 percent of the total U.S. market share - and about 95 percent of the state's orange crop is used for juice.
Total citrus acreage is down 2 percent from the previous survey and the lowest since 1966. Florida has lost trees due to citrus greening, which is spread by an insect and causes trees to produce green, disfigured and bitter fruits. Once a tree is infected, it dies in a couple years and cannot be saved.
Orange tree acreage declined for the eighth consecutive survey to 464,918, replacing the previous record low of 466,252 tallied in the 1986 inventory. Grapefruit tree acreage fell to a new low of 48,191, representing only 54 percent of the figure before the 2004-2005 hurricanes.
Polk County has the most citrus trees in the state.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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