By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
State lawmakers and citrus growers expressed a need Tuesday to entice people to drink more orange juice and for citrus importers to help in the marketing of Florida’s struggling signature crop.
After 15 years of fighting the impacts of hurricanes, citrus greening disease, a reduction in acres because of the state’s rapid growth and changes in drinking habits, Florida Citrus Mutual Executive Vice President Michael Sparks said the condition of the industry has gotten “better.”
However, Sparks acknowledged the need for a “robust” marketing campaign and that growers are at a crossroads as they seek state and federal partnerships.
“I don’t know how many plagues were going to fight, but we’re getting very close to biblical proportions,” Sparks told members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “All of these issues have put downward pressure on grower returns.”