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Forecast generates optimism among citrus growers

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Photo courtesy USDA

A new citrus forecast is giving hope to Florida growers battered by greening.

The USDA forecast released this week remains unchanged from November, at 108 million boxes.

That’s good news in an industry that’s slid from 300 million boxes a decade ago.

Andrew Meadows of Florida Citrus Mutual says some growers are banking on a turnaround.

“There is some optimism out there. I’ve seen quite a few new plantings, new trees going in. I’ve seen large replantings, 2,500 acres where you stand on a bluff overlooking it and citrus is all you can see.”

Greening is a disease that weakens trees. It’s devastated Florida’s citrus industry, which is second behind Brazil in oranges grown for juice.

This season Meadows says growers especially are watching for fruit drop, or fruit that falls from infected trees before reaching maturity. In the past that’s caused big losses.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor to NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and other top news organizations. She is a Florida native with a zeal for chronicling the spurts and pains of ... Read Full Bio »