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Is Florida still the leader of citrus?

Posted at 4:58 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 18:37:22-04

It's been a good run for Florida as the undisputed king of citrus, but that reign could be in jeopardy after Hurricane Irma.

At Riverfront Packing Company in Gifford, Dan Richey says they had a good recovery over the winter.

"Good temperatures," said Richey.

Overall though, the numbers are not that good. USDA forecasts show orange production for Florida and California this year to be about the same, around 45 million boxes.

"Numbers used to be 260 for Florida and 50 for California," said Richey.

He says as far as grapefruit, this could be the first year Florida, California, and Texas all have about the same production.

"There was a period of time where we were growing 90 percent of the grapefruit in the entire United States," said Richey.

Growers are optimistic a big rebound is coming thanks to citrus greening research and federal disaster relief.

"It's time. We're about to grow this new crop and we could use those funds now so we can stay in business," said Richey.

Once that money comes in, expect Florida to be once again, the leader of citrus.