Temps Freeze Out Florida Fruit

Feb 11, 2022

The last week of January brrrrrrought a cold snap to Florida.

The record low temperatures damaged many crops and left farmers scrambling to protect them. Crop damage assessment is currently ongoing.

A soundbite: “It will take some time to fully understand the impact on both the unharvested fruit and the damage to the new flush and bloom that was very prevalent in many locations due to a warmer winter pattern up until the freezing conditions of Jan. 29–30,” said Ray Royce, Executive Director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, in an industry update.

For the more than 30 counties affected, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the wake of the freezing temperatures.

What does that mean? Florida farmers would have access to federal aid if the USDA grants the disaster designation, helping protect the remaining crops. The executive order also eases transportation restrictions for vehicles shipping agricultural commodities, which will allow farmers to move as much salvageable product as possible, quickly.

In addition, Florida Citrus Mutual asked the Florida Department of Citrus for emergency rules, so growers can have the flexibility to move fruit to processors and packinghouses.