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Still no federal relief for Florida citrus industry

Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 18:54:55-05

More than two months after Hurricane Irma, there is still no relief in sight for Florida's citrus industry.

At Riverfront Packing Company in Gifford, it's a busy time.

"A lot going on here," said CEO Dan Richey. "Market is very strong."

However, there is some bad news.

"Our challenge is supply," said Richey.

First, local growers had to battle disease attacking their trees, then came Irma. "30-50 percent of fruit is blown off the tree," said Richey.

In October Florida's Ag Industry did not get any federal assistance and now a second appeal with the same result. "Clearly a disappointment," said Richey.

USDA reports show the forecast for orange production is down nearly 30 percent and the forecast for grapefruit is down 40 percent.

The Department of Agriculture has vowed to help growers.

Richey is confident the industry can recover.