Hurricane Irma ‘lethal’ to Florida citrus, crop to drop by 14 million boxes

Photo credit: Benjamin D. Esham

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s citrus crop was delivered a damaging blow by Hurricane Irma.

The USDA is forecasting 54 million boxes of oranges for the 2017-2018 season, which is down from the 68.7 million boxes harvested last season.

“Hurricane Irma’s path could not have been more lethal to Florida citrus. I am concerned that today’s forecast does not accurately estimate the damages to our industry, given that groves are still under water and fruit is still dropping from trees. It’s important to recognize that the damage to Florida citrus is still unfolding, and will continue to for some time,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

Commissioner Putnam, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s congressional delegation traveled to Washington DC to discuss damage caused by Hurricane Irma and to request federal assistance.

RELATED: Hurricane Irma devastates Florida citrus growers, early estimates say 75 percent of crops damaged

“One thing is clear, Florida’s growers need support and they need it fast. I will continue to work with leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the support and relief they need to rebuild as quickly as possible. There is no group of people more stubborn or more resilient than Florida’s growers, and we will get through this together,” said Putnam.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam announced that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages.

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