Hurricane Idalia could further stall Florida citrus

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Hurricane Idalia could further stall Florida citrus

After a difficult previous season that saw production volumes drop to its lowest levels since the 40’s, another major difficulty could be arising for the Florida citrus sector.

According to an August 29 report by the Miami Herald, a strengthening Hurricane Idalia could bring “dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge to much of the state’s Gulf Coast.”

The weather event is forecasted to hit Florida’s big Bend area early Aug. 30 with 120 mph winds and up to 12 feet of storm surge.

Last year, Hurricane Ian’s toll over the state drove a 57% decrease in production, as excessive winds and rainfall left barely any fruit on the trees and caused a continued effect that further hindered 2023’s harvest.

Related articles: Florida braces for Hurricane Idalia

According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Hurricane Ian’s path in 2022 hit  roughly 375,000 acres of citrus groves and inflicted up to $675 million in damages.

On Aug. 29, Executive Vice President and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, Matthew Joyner, tells that the sector is preparing for the worst.

“As growers are still recovering and rebuilding from the damages inflicted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, we are watching Idalia with great trepidation. Strong winds and standing water could result in significant losses at the start of a season that is otherwise full of hope and promise," Joyner says.

The executive points out that the mutual is currently working on ensuring safety for the state's growers and their families.

“Florida Citrus Mutual stands ready to support its grower members and Florida's citrus industry - before, during, and after storms,” he adds.

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