Florida Citrus Growers Spared by Hurricane Matthew

Citrus growers in Florida “dodged a huge bullet” as Hurricane Matthew seems to have caused just minimal crop damage, according to the Indian River Citrus League based in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Citrus industry publication The Packer reports the hurricane apparently caused little damage to Florida’s Indian River citrus growing region and south Florida vegetables. While the eye of the hurricane saw winds of up to 130 mph, the center of the storm remained off the coast and brought less powerful tropical force winds to inland areas. Most Florida citrus groves are five to 10 miles west of the coast where winds peaked at only 48 miles per hour. Any damage would pale in comparison to back-to-back storms in 2004 that destroyed 23 million boxes of an estimated 27 million box crop of fresh grapefruit. The industry has never fully recovered since, as citrus greening disease started to spread across the region in the years following the 2004 storms.

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