News Stories

Citrus Farmers Struggle to Bounce Back One Year After Hurricane Irma

It’s coming up on the one year anniversary since Hurricane Irma swept through SWFL .

The Florida Commissioner of Agriculture estimated that the category three hurricane caused the Florida’s citrus industry to suffer $760 million in damages.

Florida citrus growers anticipated producing 70 million boxes but because of damages from Irma, they were only able to send out 45 million boxes.

“These growers are struggling…and we don’t know if they’ll be able to keep up with demand,” said Marshall Nathanson, who works with citrus growers at Fruit Scape.

Marshall said hurricanes are not the only reason Southwest Florida’s citrus industry suffered in 2017. “The problem is the organisms that get at them after the hurricane has come once they’ve been knocked over and in a flood. The flooding can be what killed it and not necessarily the high winds.”

Protecting Citrus Crop

Although there isn’t a storm developing out in the Atlantic, citrus growers are taking several precautions to make sure they hold on to the crop they have left. Growers are keeping their trees trimmed starting from the top. They also place a stake next to the tree to help support the tree in heavy winds.

Additional reporting by Gabriela Milian and Rebecca Fath