Uncommitted citrus— juice citrus not yet committed to be sold to a processor—has become a real problem for citrus growers in Florida.

Florida citrus growers were enheartened to hear the first citrus forecast call for a good season at 74 million boxes of citrus, but many have had their elation tampered by uncommitted citrus. Citrus grower Jarred Eddy and Highlands County Citrus Growers Association Executive Director Ray Royce discussed the issue in a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

Problems with Uncommitted Citrus

During an October 23rd presentation to the Florida Citrus Commission, Eddy maintained that he had yet to have one offer for his fruit, and he’s not the only one. “I have heard there’s somewhere, rough estimate, low end 10 million, the high end 15 million boxes, that are uncommitted right now in the state of Florida,” Eddy shared in the article.

Eddy posited that imported juice seems to be a cause of the problem, but he added “I don’t know if it is the main problem.” When Hurricane Irma hit in September 2017, it devastated a of Florida’s citrus groves and processors had to turn to imported juice to be able to maintain production.

However, Florida’s citrus industry is trying to regain its footing after Irma and due to citrus greening, and having processors choosing not to buy currently available Florida-grown citrus is not helping. “The processors have brought in very high numbers of imported orange juice. I understand it, as of today, they continue to bring in high numbers of imported juice … It is a tough pill for me to swallow, being a Floridian, to think that my fruit may not get bought this year, but Mexican and Brazilian juice will come into the state and take the place of my fruit at the processing plant,” Eddy shared.

Both Royce and Eddy agree that limiting imported juice when necessary is a good move, “and have the utilization of Florida oranges be the first priority of the Florida citrus processing community,” Royce said. Royce added that a decrease in orange juice consumption is also another cause of the problem.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.