USDA warns: a dangerous disease to destroy Florida orange crops

Toni Koraza

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The Sunshine State is famous for many things that make America great.

From famous summer destinations to entertainment parks and mesmerizing keys, Florida has something for everyone. While being a stunning state everyone should visit, Florida's agriculture also feeds millions of American mouths every year.

Florida ranks either first or second in overall produce production in the United States. The Sunny glades and farms of Florida give out the most:

  • Tomatoes
  • Oranges
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapefruit
  • Squash
  • Sugarcane

Only California feeds more Americans than Florida. Sadly both states suffer under hostile climate change conditions.

Some 22 million residents of Florida - the third most populous State - have already faced food hurdles in late 2021 over the supply-chain crisis. Food prices have soared and left spending more to buy less.

This year brings another challenge. Florida farmers are set to yield the fewest oranges since the end of the Second World War (1944). Crops across the State are succumbing to a dangerous disease called citrus greening, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result, the State is expected to produce 44.5 million 90-pound boxes of oranges this season, which is 1.5 million boxes down from December estimates.

"Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, is the most serious disease of citrus. The disease is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) (ACP), which has been present in Florida since 1998. ACP transmits the bacteria to the tree when feeding on new shoots," as per USDA APHIS

Farmers are left worried. Climate change paired with crop diseases is becoming merciless towards bottom lines in the agriculture business.

Are you worried about the future of Florida's agriculture?

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