$10M In Incentives For Florida Citrus Growers
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.