The USDA's recent announcement doesn't surprise the great grandson of William Wallace Reed, who moved his family from Harmony, Maine, in 1882, to sunny tropical Florida to get rich growing oranges.
The Reed family has been in the citrus business for more than 128 years. When Huey Reed, owner of Reeds Groves, discusses with industry leaders how the freeze in January and February of this year affected his crop in the northern Lake Weir growing region, people stop and listen to what he has to say.
"We lost a lot of our Navel oranges, Honey tangerines, and Valencia oranges to the freeze and were worried that it would affect our bloom in early March. But we had a very good bloom; our crop is about the same with a slight increase in Navel orange production."
"Recognizing we are sitting on lower OJ inventories, we would hope that even with a larger crop, the market will continue to put upward pressure on grower returns," Reed said.
The good news was confirmed for Reed when The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its first Florida citrus forecast for the 2010/2011 season. He was pleased to see the early numbers higher than the previous year.
According to the report, Florida is expected to produce 146 million boxes of oranges through the upcoming season, an increase of nine per cent on 2009/2010, and a slight reduction of 300k boxes for the grapefruit crop.
"This number is not a surprise," said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. Founded in 1948 and currently representing nearly 8,000 grower members, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state's largest citrus grower organization. "It does prove that despite many challenges, Florida growers continue to be the best and most efficient citrus producers."
The Florida citrus industry creates $9 billion in annual revenues for the state's economy, and employs nearly 76,000 people.
Reed encourages everybody that's involved in the citrus industry to follow what's happening within their industry. "Our voice is important for the economic future of Florida."
You can contact Huey Reed through his website:
To read the complete USDA estimate visit: www.nass.usda. Gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm. The USDA makes its initial forecast in October and then revises it monthly until the end of the season in July.