Florida’s grapefruit crop held steady at nine million boxes, but its orange crop went down slightly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s February forecast.
Thursday’s report projects a one million box reduction in the state’s orange crop to 70 million boxes. That’s after last month’s forecast also predicted a decrease.
“Today’s forecast reflects a true utilization of early, mid-season, and Navel varieties,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, in a statement.
“We hope for higher numbers of Valencia production as we continue through the second half of the season.”
The state’s citrus industry has been hobbled by a citrus greening epidemic. The so-far incurable disease is attacking fruit, causing it to turn green and bitter, and eventually killing the tree.
Florida’s famous oranges are most at risk.
Last month, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam noted that “production of our state’s signature crop is down 70 percent from 20 years ago.”
“The future of Florida citrus, and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports, depends on a long-term solution in the fight against greening,” he said in a statement.