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Florida Citrus Mutual Thanks Supporters of Farm Bill

January 30th, 2014 by tamara

LAKELAND, Fla. (January 30, 2014) – The country’s largest citrus grower organization offered members of the Florida Congressional delegation a sincere “Thank You” Thursday; a day after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Farm Bill containing $125 million in citrus research funding over the next five years.

“The vast majority of Florida’s House members stepped up to the plate on behalf of agriculture to pass a solid Farm Bill that directs our nation’s farm policy in the right direction for the next five years,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “The investment in citrus research is going to go a long way in uncovering solutions to citrus greening disease which in turn will help preserve a way of life for communities across Florida.”

“So to Representatives Bilirakis, Brown, Buchanan, Castor, Crenshaw, Diaz-Balart, Frankel, Garcia, Hastings, Murphy, Nugent, Rooney, Ross, Ros-Lehtinen, Southerland, Wasserman Schultz, Webster and Yoho I say ‘Thank You’!” Sparks said. “Of course Senator Bill Nelson on the Senate side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have been huge in this effort as well.”

The citrus research initiative will be overseen by Secretary Vilsack, in consultation with industry stakeholders from Florida, California and Texas. A committee made up of nine representatives from those states will make funding decisions which must be approved by the Secretary.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It attacks the vascular system of a tree and can kill it within two years. Citrus greening is endemic to Florida and can be found in all 32 commercial citrus producing counties.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 530,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. To receive winter weather updates follow FCM on Twitter.

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FDACS Citrus Grove Renovation/Re-establishment Cost Share Program

August 24th, 2016 by tamara

Industry Members and Friends:

As you know, a big part of Mutual’s mission over the past three years was to try and uncover, create and support grower incentive programs to get more trees in the ground and rebuild our industry. Through the hard work of Commissioner Adam Putnam and his staff I am pleased to announce FDACS’ Citrus Grove Renovation/Re-establishment Support Program. The $5.5 million program is designed to help growers re-establish citrus groves by providing 75 percent cost-share on eligible improvements in irrigation and nutrient management and 100 percent on engineering and design costs.

Growers are eligible for up to $250,000 on improvements to irrigation and nutrient management for replanting or re-establishing groves. The program is available now and FDACS is accepting applications. Please see the document below for details and a contact number.

Once again, thank you to Commissioner Putnam for his staunch support of the Florida citrus industry.

Regards,

Mike

FDACS Citrus Grove Renovation/Re – establishment Support Program

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USDA ORANGE JUICE PURCHASE PROGRAM ANNOUNCED

August 19th, 2016 by tamara

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced plans to purchase Orange Juice for surplus removal. A solicitation will be issued in the near future. All offers must be submitted electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) website at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=WBSCM. Offers submitted by any
means other than WBSCM will be considered non-responsive.

Offerors are urged to review all documents as they pertain to this program, including the AMS Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements dated April 2015; Amendment 1 to the Master Solicitation dated June 2015; Amendment 2 to the Master Solicitation dated May 2016; the applicable Commodity Specification(s) identified in the subsequent solicitation(s); and the Qualification Requirements for Prospective Vendors dated October 2014. These documents are available on the AMS Commodity Procurement website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food
.
Offerors must read all terms of the applicable Solicitation(s) when it is issued. To receive electronic (email) notification of the issuance of these solicitations, see the “Stay up to date on USDA Food Purchases (link)” available on the AMS Commodity Procurement website.

Inquiries may be made by telephoning (202) 720-4517 or addressing the Contracting Officer, USDA/AMS Commodity Procurement Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 0239, Washington, DC 20250-0256. An electronic version of this Purchase Announcement can be found at the Commodity Procurement Website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food.

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Growers’ Help Needed for CRDF PFD survey

August 16th, 2016 by tamara

The CRDF has developed a survey to gather grower data to assess PFD treatments that took place this spring. Grove data will be accompanied by button and fruit count on 20 trees/block. Growers are needed to participate. The CRDF is looking for growers with some record of seasonal and/or off season bloom in their grove as well as rainfall data. If the block does not have a weather station, at least flowering monitoring data would be needed. All of the individual grove data would be kept confidential and the analyzed data will be available as a document and will be presented at meetings.

Brandon Page and his field crew (UF-IFAS and CRDF) would be in each block for around an hour to count buttons and fruit, and to make some measurements on the 20 trees. This would take place one time.

If you would like to help and participate in this project, please contact Dr. Stephanie Slinski at sslinski@citrusrdf.org or call 863.956.8678.

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International Citrus Congress – 2016

August 12th, 2016 by tamara

The International Citrus Congress(ICC 2016) will be held in Brazil from September 18 to 23. The city of Foz do Iguaçu was chosen for its natural beauty and the Triple Border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The ICC is themed “Sustainable Citrus: the role of applied knowledge”, and it is expected to receive 1,200 participants from over 15 countries. The event will bring together the most respected experts in the citrus area, in order to debate the present and future of citrus production in the world.

The Congress will be a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for scientists, students and citrus producers to interact, through lectures, workshops, scientific sessions and poster sessions. There will be tours to all over the country that will also allow in loco experience, certainly providing a wider picture of citrus production in Brazil.

The International Citrus Congress is held for 43 in different countries, every 4 years. It is the second time it is held in Brazil, the first time was in 1984, in the city of São Paulo. The last congresses were held in the USA (2000), Morocco (20004), China (2008) and Spain (2012).

The ICC 2016 is an event promoted by the International Society of Citriculture (ISC), being organized in Brazil by the two of the most important research institutions in agriculture, science and technology: the Agronomic Institute (IAC), from its Citriculture Center Sylvio Moreira and by the Agronomic Institute of Paraná (IAPAR).

The host city

The city of Foz do Iguaçu is in the west border of Paraná State, and it is the second most visited tourist destination in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro. The city is known for its cultural diversity, and has great hotels, an international airport and several tourist attractions, such as Iguazu Falls, recently elected as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, in Iguazu National Park, where tourists can visit The Bird Park, Itaipu Power Plant, among others. The ICC 2016 will be held in Mabu Thermas & Resort, a surprising resort with thermal waters, spa and haute cuisine, located 10 km away from the Falls.
Is is also close to historic places, like the Jesuit Missions, the ruins of the missions built by Jesuit priests in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Speakers

Since the announcement of Foz do Iguaçu as the host city eight years ago, the local organizers have made efforts to bring the most important experts in the citrus area to this event. Eduardo Fermino, the co-chair for the congress and an IAPAR researcher, explains the selection process:

“While discussing the very details of the event, my team and I started to think about the areas that could be selected from all the diverse fields of world citrus production and research. If on the one hand obvious themes were mentioned, on the other hand immediate connections were made, between Gmitter and genetics, Quaggio and nutrition, for example. We believe we will have the world experts with us, for each theme presented”

The speakers in this event are the top representatives in research, politics and management and will discuss the latest results of research and innovation in different areas of citricuture.

­Alexandra Heinermann
, from SGF, Germany, will be lecturing about the Worlwide Market for Citrus Juices. She is the general Manager of the Quality Juice Foundation and the SGF Service Plus GmBh, a service company for the global fruit juice industry.

­Ali Fares from Prairie View A&M University, in the USA, will share his knowledge on Current Status and Upcoming Challenges for Citrus Water Management in an Every Changing Environment: A Global Overview. He is currently leading the research program of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS) at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), and a Professor of Water Security.

­Bryce W. Falk, from the University of California, in the USA, will be lecturing about RNAi-based Strategies Against Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens. He has been at UC Davis since 1985 and was advanced to Distinguished Professor in 2013. He teaches classes in Plant Pathology, Plant Virology and General Virology. His research deals with plant viruses, insect vectors of plant pathogens and biotechnological applications for plant disease control.

­Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz
, from FAPESP, Reasearch Foundation, in Brazil. He has been a professor at the Unicamp Physics Institute since 1982. Presently is a professor at the Quantum Electronics Department.

­Fred Gmitter, from University of Florida, in the USA, whose lecture will be themed: Citrus Genomics: The Path from the Past to the Superhighway of Future Genetic Improvement. He is a University of Florida (UF) Research Foundation Professor who works in citrus genetics, genomics and breeding at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center, in Lake Alfred, Florida, USA. He was among the first citrus scientists in the world to develop molecular marker-based linkage maps and to identify markers to be used in selection for disease resistance

­Jose Antonio Quaggio, from Agronomic Institute (IAC), in Brazil, will offer his view on Advances on Citrus Nutrition: 30-year of Research in Tropical Conditions. He is a PhD in Soils and Plant Nutrition, and has been at the Agronomic Institute (IAC) since 1978, working with chemistry and fertility of soils and mineral nutrition of plants. Among his achievements, is the development of the IAC Soil Analysis System, based on the ion extraction by resins, in 1983, which is used by more than 150 laboratories in Brazil and others from Latin American countries.
­
­José R. P. Parra
, from ESALQ / USP, in Brazil, will share his knowledge on Sustainable Pest Control for Citrus Production in Brazil. He was elected Full Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science in 2000 and Full Member of the Academy of Sciences for Developing World (TWAS) in 2002. His fields of expertise are Insect Biology, Nutrition and Biological Control with emphasis on parasitic Hymenoptera. He has over 300 publications and several books in Entomology, Biological Control and Biology.
­
­Leandro Peña
from Fundecitrus in Brazil and IBMCP in Spain, will give his lecture on Transgenic strategies to control citrus Huanglongbing. He holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Currently he has been working at Fundecitrus (Araraquara, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and at Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Institute (IBMCP) of the CSIC and the Polytechnic University (UPV) in Valencia.

General Information

The Executive Organizing Committee is composed by members of the institutions carrying on the event:

Chair: Dirceu Mattos Jr. (IAC)
Co­chair: Eduardo Fermino Carlos (IAPAR) Treasurer: José Pereira da Silva (IAPAR)

International Citrus Congress ­ ICC 2016 September 18 a 23
Mabu Thermas & Resort Foz do Iguaçu ­ Brazil

website: www.icc2016.com

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FCM Applauds Rubio for Co-Sponsoring Citrus Bill

July 22nd, 2016 by tamara

LAKELAND, FL (July 22, 2016) – Florida Citrus Mutual on Friday applauded U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for becoming a co-sponsor of a measure that would provide growers with an incentive to plant more trees and bolster the troubled Florida citrus industry.

Rubio joined original sponsor U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in championing The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Actwhich allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14 year depreciation period under the current IRS rules. The tweak to the IRS code is designed to increase slumping production. It would be available for 10 years.

Rubio, along with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, toured a grove outside of Auburndale, FL Thursday to get an update on the state of the industry. He said he will push lard for the IRS legislation.

Michael W. Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, thanked Rubio and other members of the Florida Congressional delegation for their steadfast support of the industry.

“By some estimates our industry needs to put more than 20 million trees in the ground over the next 10 years to support existing infrastructure and get our production back to where it was before HLB,” said. “We offer a sincere thank you to Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and Rep. Vern Buchanan as well as other members of the Florida Congressional delegation for their support of this important bill. It is truly a bipartisan effort and reflects the fact that Florida’s elected officials understand the citrus’ vital economic role.”

Florida growers are now battling citrus greening, or HLB, a bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It attacks the vascular system of a tree and can kill it within two years. Citrus greening is endemic to Florida and has reduced production more than 50 percent over the past decade.
In the House, Rep. Vern Buchanan is the primary sponsor of the bill. Co-sponsors from Florida include Reps. Bilirakis, Brown, Castor, Clawson, Crenshaw, Curbelo, DeSantis, Deutch, Diaz-Balart, Frankel, Graham, Grayson, Hastings, Jolly, Mica, Miller, Murphy, Posey, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Wasserman-Schultz, Wilson, Webster and Yoho. Rep. Olson from Texas and Reps. Gosar, Schweikert and Franks from Arizona are also co-sponsors of the bill.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $10.7 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 62,000 people, and covering about 500,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. Follow FCM on Twitter @FLCITRUSMUTUAL

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Governor Signs Packinghouse Tax Exemption

April 14th, 2016 by tamara

Dear Friends of the Florida Citrus Industry,

Good news! Governor Scott on Wednesday signed the measure allowing a sales tax exemption for fresh fruit and vegetable packinghouses on equipment purchased, repairs to existing equipment and labor.

We have pursued this legislation for several sessions so I am happy to report we finally got it done! Thanks to Governor Scott, Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli, Representative Matt Gaetz and all of our champions in the House and the Senate. The exemption should provide a nice financial shot in the arm to our fresh industry. It takes effect on July 1, 2016.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Mutual.

Regards,

Mike Sparks

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USDA Estimate of 2015-2016 Florida Orange Crop Increases

March 9th, 2016 by tamara

LAKELAND, FL (March 9, 2016) -The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Wednesday said its estimate of the 2015-2016 Florida orange crop increased 3 percent to 71 million.

A 2 million box rise in Valencias to 35 million accounted for the increase. Early and Mid-Season varieties stayed at 36 million boxes.

“We are still in a crisis situation right now in regards to battling the HLB disease although this slight increase is welcome good news,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “We still continue to produce a quality crop in the face of adversity and that’s a testament to the resilience of the Florida citrus grower.”

The USDA makes its initial estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.

During the 2014-2015 season, Florida produced 96.8 million boxes of oranges. Visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm for the complete USDA estimate.

The USDA’s estimate of the 2015-2016 Florida grapefruit crop also rose slightly to 10.7 million boxes from 10.5 million. Specialty citrus decreased a fraction to 1.8 million boxes. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) remained at 1.45 gallons per 90-pound box.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $10.8 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 62,000 people, and covering about 515,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. Follow FCM on Twitter @FLCITRUSMUTUAL.

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Results of Florida Citrus Research Order Referendum Announced

February 16th, 2016 by tamara

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced today that Florida’s citrus growers reauthorized the Florida citrus research order in a statutorily required referendum conducted by the department. More than 87 percent of ballots received by the department were in favor of reauthorization.

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation serves as the advisory council of record for the research order. The Citrus Research and Development Foundation was created to conduct disease and production research to ensure the survival and competitiveness of Florida’s citrus growers.

A marketing order establishes, by vote of the producers, a self-imposed assessment or fee to be used for a variety of industry activities, including: advertising and promoting their agricultural products, expanding markets and distribution channels, researching improved growing techniques, regulating the quality and grades of their products, regulating trade practices, and resolving other critical problems and needs in the industry.

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com

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Statement by Commissioner Adam Putnam on Citrus Crop Forecast

February 10th, 2016 by tamara

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its citrus crop forecast for the 2015-2016 season:

“Today’s citrus crop forecast further illustrates that Florida’s citrus industry is on a precipice,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “Florida is synonymous with citrus, and without immediate and tangible support, as well as a long-term solution, Florida is facing the prospect of losing its signature crop and its more than $10 billion economic impact.”

Commissioner Putnam recently announced a multifaceted plan to provide Florida growers with more immediate support until a permanent solution is developed. That plan includes, among other things, a cost-sharing program for the removal or destruction of abandoned citrus groves to eliminate material that harbors citrus greening and the vector that spread the bacterial disease. This proposal is currently working through the legislative process as HB 7007 and SB 1010.

The USDA’s forecast of 69 million boxes of oranges, weighing 90 pounds each, represents a decline of more than 71 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

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FCM Applauds Tax Measure to Increase Tree Plantings

November 6th, 2015 by tamara

LAKELAND, FL (November 6, 2015) – Florida Citrus Mutual on Friday applauded a measure introduced by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-16) that would provide growers with an incentive to plant more trees and bolster the troubled Florida citrus industry.

H.R. 3957 – The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act – allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14 year depreciation period under the current IRS rules. The tweak to the IRS code is designed to increase slumping production. It would be available for 10 years.

Florida growers are now battling citrus greening, or HLB, a bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It attacks the vascular system of a tree and can kill it within two years. Citrus greening is endemic to Florida and has reduced production more than 50 percent over the past decade.

“By some estimates our industry needs to put more than 20 million trees in the ground over the next 10 years to support existing infrastructure and get our production back to where it was before HLB,” said Michael W. Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “Rep. Buchanan’s bill will help eliminate some of the financial risk growers are weighing when they decide whether to re-plant. Growers want to farm and this measure will tip the scales and get them back in the game even in this tough environment.”

“We appreciate the hard work of Congressman Buchanan and all of the Florida Congressional delegation who supports this bill. It truly is a bi-partisan effort.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Bilirakis, Castor, Crenshaw, Curbelo, Diaz-Balart, Hastings, Jolly, Murphy, Rooney, Ross, Wasserman-Schultz and Yoho.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $10.7 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 62,000 people, and covering about 500,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. Follow FCM on Twitter @FLCITRUSMUTUAL.

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