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$10M In Incentives For Florida Citrus Growers

Greening is a disease that weakens citrus trees. The fruit becomes unusable. Photo by Amy Green / WMFE

Looking to juice Florida’s citrus industry, Florida’s Natural Growers is offering $10 million in incentives to plant new orange trees. It’s handing out another $3 million for grapefruit and $500,000 for lemons.

Citrus greening is a disease that starves trees of nutrients, spoiling the fruit and eventually killing the tree. And it’s in every grove in the state.

Florida’s Natural Growers, a co-op of Florida’s 14 largest growers, is willing to give out cash for planting new trees. Andrew Meadows is the spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual, the growers’ trade group. He calls this investment a big deal.

“Is it going to turn the industry around and get us back up to the levels of production that we were 10, 12 years ago? No. But it’s a start,” said Meadows.

It takes a new tree three years to produce oranges, said Meadows.

Citrus greening has cut production by some 70 percent from the industry’s peak 20 years ago.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch