First forecast of citrus season has growers optimistic

First forecast of citrus season has growers optimistic

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The first forecast of the Florida citrus season has growers optimistic.

The National Agriculture Statistics Service on Thursday said that Florida is expected to produce an estimated 74 million boxes of oranges in the 2019-2020 season, a 3.4% increase over the previous season.

The agriculture service also says Florida is expected to produce 4.6 million boxes of grapefruit, a 2% increase over the previous season.

Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, says the official estimates match what the agency has been hearing from growers.

Michael W. Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, a growers’ advocacy group, says the estimates are good news for an industry that has been ravaged by the citrus greening disease and is still recovering from damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

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