In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a private forecaster projects the Florida orange industry will hit a 50-year low for the 2014-15 year. We have shared several posts about the challenges facing the industry from citrus greening, to crop freeze damage, to industry pest problems. The produce industry battles for success against many obstacles and sometimes it seems hopeless.
In the WSJ article, Elizabeth Steger, who is closely watched by the WSJ as an independent forecaster, predicts as much as a 15 percent decline from what the Florida Department of Agriculture predicts. Apparently, consumer demand for orange juice is slipping, which also will effect production. Last year’s orange juice sales were the lowest since 2002.
Florida’s agriculture industry makes a $108 billion economic impact. Industry partner University of Florida has focused great effort at providing resolutions for the greening and pest problem. The Florida Department of Agriculture’s Fresh from Florida campaign is geared to driving consumer demand, for oranges and all Florida produce. Will these efforts be enough to fix this history making issue? Only time will tell.
Can you imagine a world without the Florida orange?