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Florida Citrus Growers Call For Aid As Disaster Relief Bill Overlooks Their Plight After Irma

Photo courtesy USDA
Photo courtesy USDA

Florida citrus growers remain hopeful for federal help by the year's end.

That’s even as the Senate advances a disaster relief measure containing no money for the state's iconic crop.

The $36.5 billion billion measure excludes Florida citrus growers despite the efforts of Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott.

Andrew Meadows of Florida Citrus Mutual says Hurricane Irma was catastrophic for growers who already had been reeling from citrus greening disease.

"We estimate there were 60 percent of the fruit that was on the trees was blown off, and we also had trees uprooted. We had standing water, groves under water, fruit floating down the Caloosahatchee River."

Meadows expects the diminished harvest will mean higher prices this season. Citrus is the leading crop in the state, which is second behind Brazil in oranges for juice.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.