BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — Hammered by citrus greening disease, Florida’s citrus industry will produce an estimated 102 million boxes of oranges during the 2014-15 season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday released estimates of Florida’s citrus crop. The forecast is a decline of 59 percent since the peak of citrus production at 254 million boxes in 1997-98.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said the industry continues to be threatened by citrus greening.
The Palm Beach Post reports that he’s asked the Legislature for $18 million this year to support research, to grow clean citrus stock and to remove and replant diseased trees.
Greening is a bacterial disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid that weakens and eventually kills trees.