Tighter Florida orange supplies drive up prices
Following the impact of Hurricane Idalia, the USDA is projecting a 43% drop in orange production in Florida. The decrease is expected to drive prices up for popular byproducts such as orange juice.
As the U.S.’s top orange producer, Florida’s smaller crop could bring shortages which, in turn, would drive prices up.
The USDA’s latest report, published in July, puts the state's orange yields at 15.8 million 90 pound boxes.
Related articles: Hurricane Idalia could further stall Florida citrus
Florida citrus growers have experienced many shortcomings. In 2022, Hurricane Ian brought excessive rainfall and wind damage, and the ever-present greening disease continued to stall harvests.
The sector’s resilience has been key to endure these challenges, however, this coming season’s outlook brings less-than-reassuring projections.
“While Florida’s citrus growers faced many challenges such as hurricanes, freezes, pests and disease that impacted production last year, we are exceptionally hopeful that a more fruitful season is ahead of us,” Mathew Joyner, vice president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, tells FreshFruitPortal.com.
Additionally, a lack of agricultural workers is also worrying the industry. As September rolls in, many Florida vegetable farmers begin preparing their soil for seeding.
Senate Bill 1718, which tightened restrictions for undocumented workers, is making it harder for growers to find labor.