citrus

Amy Green/WMFE

Florida fruit growers and farmers have just barely begun to assess the damage Hurricane Irma wrought on the state's citrus, sugar cane and vegetable crops — but they expect it will be significant.

Florida Gives Homeowners Tiny Wasps To Battle Citrus Disease

Aug 2, 2017
Ettie May / Flickr

Florida homeowners with citrus trees on their property now have a new tool to fight off deadly citrus greening disease: parasitic wasps.

Justices Reject Challenge To Scott's Citrus Veto

Jul 14, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Despite clear frustrations of some justices, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to invalidate Gov. Rick Scott's veto of $37.4 million that lawmakers approved to compensate homeowners whose healthy citrus trees were cut down by the state more than a decade ago.

Florida Citrus Harvest Lowest In Decades

Jul 13, 2017
Amy Green / WMFE

The final forecast of the 2016-2017 season for Florida's struggling citrus industry shows the orange crop falling 16 percent from the previous season — which, itself, had been at a five-decades low.

A Lee County circuit court judge said the state agriculture department needs to repay local residents for destroyed citrus trees, or explain why it refuses to pay. The Florida Department of Agriculture has less than 40 days to respond.

Residents in Lee and Broward Counties took Gov. Rick Scott to the Florida Supreme Court this week. They’re trying to overturn Scott’s vetoes of state money owed to them after agriculture officials destroyed their healthy citrus trees. The homeowners also took the state’s agriculture commissioner to lower courts.

Scott Seeks To Scuttle Challenge To Citrus Money Veto

Jun 27, 2017
Amy Green/WMFE

Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott argued Monday the Florida Supreme Court should reject a lawsuit challenging the governor’s veto of $37.4 million that would compensate homeowners for healthy citrus trees cut down by the state.

Supreme Court Wants Quick Response On Citrus Veto

Jun 22, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday gave Gov. Rick Scott's administration until noon Monday to respond to a lawsuit challenging the governor's veto of $37.4 million intended to go to residents whose healthy citrus trees were cut down as the state tried to eradicate citrus-canker disease.

Homeowners Seek To Overturn Scott’s Citrus Veto

Jun 21, 2017
Amy Green / WMFE

Homeowners and their lawyers asked the Florida Supreme Court late Tuesday to overturn Gov. Rick Scott's decision this month to veto $37.4 million intended for residents whose healthy citrus trees were cut down as the state tried to eradicate citrus-canker disease.

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed a part of the state budget that would’ve compensated residents in Lee and Broward Counties years after the state removed their healthy citrus trees. The 16-year battle for reimbursement continues.


  The Florida Legislature finally included compensation in the state budget for Lee County and Broward County residents after agriculture officials removed their healthy citrus trees in the early 2000s. It was a failed attempt by the Florida Department of Agriculture to eradicate the bacterial disease citrus canker. These residents hope the governor will sign the state budget to end their years-long battle. 

Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.

Despite a decade of bad harvests, a Florida lawmaker says the state’s signature industry is recovering. Growers are optimistic new genetically engineered trees will survive the deadly citrus greening disease.

Laurel wilt has destroyed thousands of avocado trees in most counties across the state. While the deadly disease has not yet made it to several Panhandle counties, experts say it’s only a matter of time.

Florida's citrus industry is hurting in a big way.  The final report of the growing season by the U.S. Department of Agriculture put Florida orange production for the 2014-15 season at 96.7 million boxes, a drop of 4 percent from last year.