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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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2020 Crop Estimate Shared via Zoom

October 7th, 2020 by tamara

Dear Mutual Members and Friends:

Florida Citrus Mutual – in collaboration with Southeast AgNet – will host the USDA’s 2020-2021 initial crop estimate “luncheon” via Zoom. If you can’t make the Zoom feed the event will also be carried live on AgNet’s sponsored radio stations and the website – www.southeastagnet.com. (Please see attachment below for listing of radio stations carrying the estimate announcement.)

The closest orange crop “guesstimate” will win a YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler/Backpack. The grapefruit estimate will be the tie breaker. Participants can submit their estimates starting at 11:40 am via the Zoom chat function.

I will start the event followed by a brief chat and Q&A with Dr. Scott Angle, the new head of UF/IFAS, who will discuss HLB research.

Join the ZOOM at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84486524344?pwd=b3ZDK2ZWNGJKY0J2aGxKaEVVNGJNUT09 entering Meeting ID: 844 8652 4344 and Passcode: 895801. For phone audio, dial
929.205.6099 and enter the same Meeting ID and Passcode.

See you Friday!


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Industry Review Committee Receives Grower Letters

September 18th, 2020 by tamara

Below are two Grower Letters sent to the IRC Committee expressing concerns and positions regarding the IRC review.

CIRC Letter From Growers-2

Industry Review Committee Letter 09_08_2020-1 (1)

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Essential Worker Movement Guidance

April 1st, 2020 by tamara

As you are no doubt aware, today Governor DeSantis issued a 30 day statewide stay-at-home order. Many of you have contacted Mutual over the past several days inquiring about critical infrastructure designations and business continuity plans should a “stay-at-home” order be issued. Specifically, should an order be given would agriculture be deemed “essential” and what would be the protocol for those engaged in production agriculture to maintain necessary operations and travel.

I have attached below a template from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that can be carried by persons involved in business deemed a critical infrastructure sector. Along with a letter such as this individuals should have a valid government-issued ID, such as a Driver’s License or passport.

Also attached is the Executive Order from the Governor as well as the Critical Infrastructure Memo from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

As the situation develops we will continue to keep you informed of any changes that might impact your operations. Meanwhile, if you have any questions feel free to contact me or Matt Joyner (863-255-1638).


Essential Worker Movement Letter Template

April 1, 2020 Executive Order

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January 17th, 2020 by tamara

Spring 2020 Clay Shoot Flyer

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Florida Citrus Recovery Block Grant – Frequently Asked Questions

April 4th, 2019 by tamara

More than $44 million has been paid out by the Florida Department of Emergency Management (DEM) under the Citrus Block Grant program. Part II inspections have started and payments are expected to ramp up signifi-cantly over the next two weeks. Please read the FAQs below provided by DEM.

Producer Frequently Asked Questions

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Limited Florida FSA Offices Open

January 17th, 2019 by tamara

Dear FCM Members and Friends:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday (January 16) that eight Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices in Florida will reopen temporarily despite the shutdown to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers.

If you need a copy of your 890 form as part of the WHIP program, your FSA office may be open on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

The following offices in Florida may be open on those three days:
• Alachua County Service Center 5709 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32653-2130 (352) 372-4668
• Hillsborough Co. Service Center 201 South Collins Street, Suite 201, Plant City, FL 33563-5567 (813) 752-1474
• Holmes County Service Center 103 N. Oklahoma Street, Bonifay, FL 32425-2850 (850) 547-4277
• Lake County Service Center 1725 David Walker Drive, Suite B, Tavares, F 32778-5745 (352) 742-7005
• Madison County Service Center 1416 East US 90, Unit A, Madison, FL 32340-3010 (850) 973-2205
• Miami-Dade Co. Service Center 1450 North Krome Avenue, Suite 102, Florida City, FL 33034 (305) 242-1197
• Okeechobee Co. Service Center 450 NW Hwy 98, Okeechobee, FL 34972-4168 (863) 763-3345
• Sumter County Service Center 7620 SR 471, Suite 3, Bushnell, FL 33513 (352) 793-2651

Please see full USDA press release here https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAOC/bulletins/22899da



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December 7th, 2018 by tamara

BARTOW, Fla. (December 7, 2018) – The Selection Committee for The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has announced three distinguished leaders who will be inducted into the Hall during the 57th Citrus Celebration Luncheon on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Tim Hurner, of Sebring, Fla., Richard J. Kinney (deceased), formerly of Lakeland, Fla. and Peter McClure, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., will be honored at the luncheon, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m. at Florida Southern College.

Tim Hurner is a fourth-generation Florida citrus grower who has spent most of his life and career as an IFAS Extension Citrus Agent, as well as a Center Director, in Highlands County supporting citrus growers in the production and profitability of citrus. In 1990, he assisted growers in the formation of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association which was designed to help growers keep up with local and regional issues and respond accordingly. Throughout his extension career, he was known as the “go to” person for answers, helping growers’ transition to new technology and conservation methods. As the 4-H Youth Agent for Highlands County, he grew the 4-H program to over 500 members in 4-H Clubs ranging from 4-H, to Home Economics, to 4-H Livestock, to 4-H Horse Clubs. Hurner also taught at Florida Southern in Lakeland, mentoring many students who are now active in leadership roles in the citrus industry today. A Certified Crop Advisor, he received the National CCA Award in 2012, the International CCA Award in 2013 and was awarded a Lifetime CCA status in 2014 for his contributions and leadership of the Florida CCA Program.

Richard J. Kinney will long be remembered as Florida’s most passionate advocate for its fresh citrus industry. Kinney started his career as an Ag Liaison for Representative Andrew Ireland and later for former Governor and Senator Lawton Chiles. He went on to serve as Executive Vice President of Florida Citrus Packers from 1983 until his retirement in 2012. During that time, he worked tirelessly to maintain export and domestic markets for fresh Florida citrus after the discovery of citrus canker, “walking the halls” of Tallahassee and Washington DC building the case for continued market access and ensuring that scientific research supported the cause. He helped the industry through overseas export challenges, citrus greening, in-store juicing debates and discussions, brix level studies, challenging industry consolidation discussions, import citrus dynamics, new packaging and carton size considerations and discussions, He was one of the industry’s foremost experts on trade regulations and pest interdiction, as well as a successful citrus grower. Uncompromising and unapologetic of his defense and advocacy for the fresh fruit packers, he was known as a “bulldog on a soapbox” and fought tirelessly for the betterment of Florida’s fresh fruit citrus industry on numerous issues.

Peter McClure is a fourth-generation citrus grower and is known as “the Godfather” of the Citrus Research & Development Foundation (CRDF), an organization he helped found to combat the devastating spread of HLB. He originally helped create one of the first ever grower funded research organizations, the Florida Citrus Production Advisory Council (FCPAC), which evolved into the CRDF with over $200 million of sponsored, funded and completed research committed to HLB mitigation and control. It is the best positioned organization in the world to coordinate the required research and product development necessary to combat the disease. A longtime production manager with both Becker Holdings and Evans Properties, McClure is currently the Chief Agriculture Officer of Terviva in Ft. Pierce.
He is a recipient of the Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award, the Florida State Horticulture Society’s Outstanding Commercial Horticulturist Award and the St. Lucie County Conservationist of the Year Award.

The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame honors distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to the Florida citrus industry. The Citrus Hall of Fame display and Archive Center is located within the McKay Archive Building at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information on members of the Citrus Hall of Fame, visit the web site at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com which includes access to biographies and photos on all members, noting their accomplishments and including various industry links.

Tickets to the luncheon, which is co-sponsored by Florida Citrus Mutual and The Florida Department of Citrus, are $100 for Patron Seating or $1,500 for a Sponsor Table, which includes preferred seating for 8, table signage and a listing in the program. The event will be followed by the Florida Citrus Processors’ Association’s OJ “Meet & Greet” with the inductees as they unveil their names on the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Tree, located in the Sara D. and Kirk McKay Archives Center. An educational citrus exhibit will be featured from January through March and tours of the Citrus Archives will be available. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will go to fund an Educational Outreach program to help promote the history of the Florida citrus industry.

To purchase tickets, please call Florida Citrus Mutual at (863) 682-1111 or visit the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame website at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314 or via email at BBurne1003@aol.com.


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Joyner Joins Florida Citrus Mutual as Director of Government Relations

November 26th, 2018 by tamara

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Andrew Meadows at (863) 682-1111 or (cell) (863) 944-4924.

BARTOW, FL (November 26, 2018) – Florida Citrus Mutual is pleased to announce and welcome Matt Joyner as its new Director of Government Relations. In this role, Joyner will work on behalf of Mutual’s grower members and staff in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

Joyner previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Commissioner Adam Putnam providing a broad base of policy knowledge at both the state and federal levels.

Joyner will officially join Mutual’s team on December 10, 2018.

“We are excited and fortunate to have somebody as knowledgeable and talented as Matt come on staff,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “Matt has not only a deep understanding of how government works but also the issues facing the Florida citrus grower.”

“Legislative issues are FCM’s highest priority and with Matt’s expertise and experience I am sure he will hit the ground running in both Tallahassee and Washington,” added Sparks.

The Florida citrus industry creates an $8.6 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 46,000 people, and covering about 400,000 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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Plan on Attending Crop Insurance Meeting!

November 3rd, 2018 by tamara

Dear Mutual Members and Friends:

Florida Citrus Mutual is urging growers to attend at least one meeting focused on reforming the current citrus fruit insurance program. These “listening sessions” (see schedule below) are designed to get feedback from growers as FCM moves forward with improving the current program or moving to an “Actual Production History” program. Crop insurance reform is now in the spotlight in the wake of Hurricane Irma relief. Come and have your say.

FCM experts will present premium and indemnity scenarios.

You do not have to be a Mutual member to attend. We hope to see you there.


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Nominations Sought for the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame

October 17th, 2018 by tamara

Bartow, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2018) — Nominations are now being sought for potential inductees to The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, with induction ceremonies scheduled to take place on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The luncheon is co-sponsored by Florida Citrus Mutual and the Florida Department of Citrus.

The mission of the Hall of Fame is to recognize those distinguished leaders that have made significant contributions to the industry and to preserve and share the rich heritage of Florida citrus. Eligible nominees for the Hall of Fame are those distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to the Florida citrus industry in any of the following fields: pioneers, harvesting, packing, processing, marketing, scientific and/or educational areas.

Last year’s inductees were L. Gene Albrigo, of Daytona Shores, Fla., and Marvin D. Kahn, of Sebring, Fla. Anyone may nominate or re-nominate their choice for the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Because of the limited number who may be inducted each year, the Hall of Fame encourages interested parties to resubmit candidates that may have been nominated in previous years, but not selected at that time.

The deadline for nominations is November 1st and all nominations should include a summary of the nominee’s accomplishments, letters of support from industry members and a photo. Any nominations received after this date will be considered for the following year. Nomination forms are available by contacting Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314, BBurne1003@aol.com or by visiting the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame web site at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com .

Completed applications must include a photo and should be e-mailed to BBurne1003@aol.com. Hard copies should be sent to Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, 2506 Gardens Parkway, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.

For more information, please contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314 or BBurne1003@aol.com.

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