Tags: usda | wrong | oranges | hurricane | irma | florida | group

Florida Growers Group: USDA Is Wrong on Oranges and Hurricane Irma

Image: Florida Growers Group: USDA Is Wrong on Oranges and Hurricane Irma
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Thursday, 12 Oct 2017 03:42 PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first estimate for this season’s orange crop in Florida -- and its first since Hurricane Irma -- was made too soon, is too high and probably inaccurate, according to an unusual rebuke from the state’s largest growers organization.

“The agency could not accurately account for the full extent of the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma” last month, Florida Citrus Mutual said Thursday in a statement, less than an hour after the USDA released its numbers in Washington. “Historically, the USDA has a high margin of error in crop years with a natural disaster.”

In a widely followed report, the USDA said output in Florida will plunge 21 percent to 54 million boxes in the season that began Oct. 1, a 71-year low. Two days earlier, Citrus Mutual put production at 31 million boxes, citing its own grower survey (a box weighs 90 pounds, or 41 kilograms).

“I’m disappointed the USDA did not delay the traditional October crop estimate until more data could be collected to fully assess the damage,” Michael W. Sparks, the group’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Oct. 4 that Irma caused $2.5 billion in agricultural damage, including $760.8 million of damage to the citrus industry, but that it’s still too soon to provide a reliable estimate.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's first estimate for this season's orange crop in Florida -- and its first since Hurricane Irma -- was made too soon, is too high and probably inaccurate, according to an unusual rebuke from the state's largest growers organization.
usda, wrong, oranges, hurricane, irma, florida, group
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2017-42-12
Thursday, 12 Oct 2017 03:42 PM
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