Putnam, Crisafulli: Citrus Will Survive Greening Disease
By Matt O'Hern // May 17, 2013
Coca-Cola to Buy 25,000 Acres of Citrus Trees
ABOVE VIDEO: The UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center presents various facts regarding the Florida citrus industry, which includes some interesting facts about the importance of water. Florida’s citrus industry is a $9 billion industry that creates 76,000 jobs throughout the Sunshine State.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida’s citrus industry received a boost from one of the nation’s largest corporations this week, as Coca-Cola announced a $2 billion investment in Florida orange groves.
State Representative Steve Crisafulli’s family has been in the citrus industry for multiple generations. During an exclusive interview with SpaceCoastDaily.com, Crisafulli discussed citrus greening’s impact on the local economy.
“This year the Legislature made a commitment to working with the industry by providing funding for Citrus Greening research to the tune of $9 million dollars.” Crisafulli said.
“With agriculture being, what I consider, the foundation of Florida’s economy, it was important for us to recognize the importance of our commitment to making sure that we as the Legislature did what we could to be a part of the solution. The impact on Brevard will certainly be consistent with that of the rest of the state and will continue to have lasting effects as the disease continues to effect large quantities of grove acres in our county and state.
‘The impacts between 2006 and 2011 have cost the state $4.5 billion in lost economic output, and over 8,000 jobs. This industry will continue to survive because of its commitment to finding a solution and its will to produce a viable product here in our great state. This being evidence by the recent announcement by Cocoa Cola to plant 25,000 acres of groves that will create more than 4,100 jobs in Florida during a 25-year period. The total economic impact of Coca-Cola’s investment is estimated to be more than $10 billion over the next 25 years, or about $422 million each year.”
Legislature Approved $8 million Toward Greening Research
While USDA’s projections for the year are steady, the season has been disrupted by the rising problem of citrus greening disease. Sunshine State News reports:
“The Florida Legislature this month approved $8 million toward greening research, and that’s a record sum. A bill to fund up to $150 million in research over five years was shot down by Congress earlier this year, amid concerns about the fiscal cliff.”
“For the first time this year, it has been found in all 32 counties where citrus is grown..Florida’s thousands of growers have moved aggressively against the disease. They self-imposed a tax and over the last six years lashed out $60 million to create a research foundation to eradicate greening. The federal Department of Agriculture also has spent millions in the fight.
More money is coming. The Florida Legislature this month approved $8 million toward greening research, and that’s a record sum. A bill to fund up to $150 million in research over five years was shot down by Congress earlier this year, amid concerns about the fiscal cliff. But now, as more and more members of Congress are becoming aware of the problem, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is pushing a bill to set up a research trust fund using money from a tariff on imported orange juice.”
PUTNAM PRAISES COCA-COLA INVESTMENT
Coca-Cola’s major investment was followed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that the 2012-2013 projections for Florida’s orange crop has held steady at 138 million boxes.
In a press release, Florida Department of Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam praised Coca-Cola’s investment.
“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” Putnam said. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment toward 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”