READ MORE“While today's final citrus crop forecast brings this horrible season to a close, it's important to remember that the industry is still recovering from Hurricane Irma's unprecedented damage last year.
“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture, Florida's agriculture industry and our elected leaders, much-needed disaster assistance is on the way to help Florida's growers.”
The USDA's forecast of 44.95 million boxes of oranges for the 2017-2018 season is unchanged from the May estimate and down 9 million boxes from the 54 million boxes predicted at the start of the season.
This forecast represents a decline of more than 80 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam announced that Florida citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages.
In the weeks following Hurricane Irma, Commissioner Putnam joined Governor Rick Scott in Washington D.C to discuss the agricultural damage and to request federal assistance with Florida's Congressional Delegation.
In February, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a spending bill that included more than $2.3 billion for agricultural assistance. ■