Home > News & Media > The Daily Squeeze

Daily Squeeze

Growers Should Purchase Some Level of Crop Insurance by April 15

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

By Michael W. Sparks

The Hurricane Irma Florida citrus relief package is moving forward and we expect Secretary Perdue to unveil the program sometime in the next few weeks. FCM is in contact with our allies in Washington and Commissioner Adam Putnam’s staff on a daily basis.

Once the news breaks we will get it out as fast as we can to membership. In the meantime, Florida Citrus Mutual strongly recommends growers purchase some level of crop insurance by April 15, 2018 – the final date to apply for 2018-2019 coverage. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the April 15 sales closing date to do so. As the details of the citrus relief package emerge, FCM believes purchasing at least catastrophic (CAT) insurance for the 2018-2019 is a show of good faith to the USDA, as well as providing limited protection for citrus growers. It appears the language authorizing the relief dollars does not require crop insurance for the 2018- 2019 season, however as you know everything is open to interpretation.

Buying relatively cheap CAT insurance is well…insurance. Also understand that USDA and Congress are both very keen on crop insurance to offset losses from agricultural disasters, such as Hurricane Irma. We do know recipients of relief dollars will have to purchase crop insurance for the next two “available” years and growers who had crop insurance at the time Irma hit will be eligible for greater relief payments than those who did not. Growers should take a hard look at their risk management portfolios now because there is zero chance our industry will be fortunate enough to secure direct payments should a disaster hit in the future. That train has left the proverbial station. Consequently, Florida Citrus Mutual through its Crop Insurance Advisory Committee is working with consultants, our Congressional delegation and the USDA to make Florida citrus’ insurance products a better tool for growers going forward. It is clear deductibles are too high, premiums are many times unaffordable and indemnity payments are not consistent with current crop values. If we are to survive and ultimately thrive as an industry the situation must be rectified.

For more information on the 2018-2019 citrus fruit policy go to https://www.rma.usda.gov/fields/ga_rso/2019/2019flcitrus.pdf

To see the Risk Management Agency’s press release regarding the April 15 closing date go to https://www.rma.usda.gov/fields/ga_rso/2017/flscd041517.pdf

A list of crop insurance agents is available online at https://www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html

Growers can get a premium amount estimate here https://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/

Posted in Daily Squeeze | 1 Comment »

FCM Applauds Congress for Passing Hurricane Irma Relief Package

Friday, February 9th, 2018

BARTOW, FL (February 9, 2018) – Florida’s largest citrus grower organization thanks members of the U.S. House and Senate for approving a Florida agriculture disaster package early Friday that will send billions in relief to growers hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

The package – passed as part of the federal budget deal – provides a total of $3.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $2.36 billion of which will be used to make direct payments to Florida producers who’ve suffered hurricane-related crop losses last year. Citrus’ share is expected to be $760 million. The bill now moves to the President.

“We cannot thank the Florida delegation enough for their bi-partisan support of this measure to get citrus growers back on their feet after a catastrophic blow from Hurricane Irma,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “Growers and the communities and families that rely on citrus are thankful to say the least. Livelihoods and a way of life are going to be saved because of this funding.”

“Senators Nelson and Rubio were absolutely instrumental in the success of the relief package. On the House side Congressman Rooney, Ross and Diaz-Balart did yeoman’s work for us in addition to almost the entire Florida delegation. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Governor Rick Scott were with us every step of the way and we thank them as well.”

On September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma moved through the center of the state hitting Florida’s major citrus producing regions with up to 120 mph winds. The hurricane blew fruit off the tree and caused widespread tree damage. An FCM survey of growers conducted post Irma pegged total fruit loss at more than 65 percent with some reports of 100 percent fruit loss in the Southwest part of the state.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $8.6 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 46,000 people, and covering about 450,000 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

-30-

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

A Call to Action

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Dear Mutual Members and Friends:

The U.S. Senate is expected to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) sometime today. The measure to fund the government includes $2.36 billion for Florida agriculture relief.

Please immediately contact your U.S. Representative in the House and strongly urge them to vote “YES” on the bill. We have attached contact information. Do not hesitate to contact House members in other states if you have a relationship with them.

The time is now to push this bill through!

I would suggest you include any or all of the following points:

• Name, location and quick history of your business;
• For the past decade Florida citrus has been fighting HLB, a bacterial disease that kills trees quickly. The disease and the vector are not native to the United States. Citrus production has gone down more than 70% while the cost to grow citrus has nearly tripled. Consequently, for the last ten years, groves have not been sufficiently profitable. To continue to produce citrus, growers have utilized all reserves, there are no retained earnings and loans have been maxed out;
• Hurricane Irma ruined hope that the 2017-18 season would mark a modest rebound. The hurricane brought 110 mph winds and excessive rain which resulted in an estimated 65% crop loss;
• Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam pegged a preliminary citrus damage estimate at $760 million. The number will grow significantly as long-term effects slowly emerge. It will take years to truly understand the destruction of Hurricane Irma;
• We need a relief/rebuild package or a way of life for local communities and a huge economic engine for the State of Florida will disappear.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Please make the call today.
Regards,
Mike

Mike Sparks
Executive VP/CEO
Florida Citrus Mutual

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

Section 18 for FireLine, FireWall and MycoShield

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Please see the attached letter from the EPA regarding the Section 18 emergency exemption for three bactericides. The letter allows growers to continue using FireLine, FireWall and MycoShield. Here is a statement from Commissioner Adam Putnam on the Section 18…

“We must continue to do everything we can to support our citrus industry, and I’m pleased to announce that the EPA has reissued its approval of oxytetracycline and streptomycin for treating citrus greening. While the citrus industry is in dire straits, the industry has always been resilient. It has persevered through challenging times before, and it will do so again. Florida’s farmers are among the toughest people I know. We’re going to continue to use every resource available not only to fight citrus greening, but also to rebound from Hurricane Irma.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Florida Citrus Mutual at 863.682.1111.

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

New Compliance Agreements Required Effective January 1, 2018

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

All commercial growers, caretakers, harvesters and processors will be required to sign a new CHRP compliance agreement effective January 1, 2018. The general requirements of the agreements have not changed in that growers are still asked to implement self-survey, psyllid control and decontamination programs and should adopt the latest recommendations for pest and disease control available from UF-IFAS.

All personnel and equipment should be properly decontaminated and equipment should be free of any debris and plant material before entering another grove property. Trip tickets for fruit moving from non-quarantine areas must be clearly written and serially numbered and include the grove name, block identification, landowner or agent’s name, lessee, harvester, number of boxes, fruit variety, vehicle tag number, destination and date of harvest along with the compliance agreement number for the owner of each block harvested.

There is additional language in the agreements with regard to moving fruit from Citrus Black Spot (CBS) regulated areas and is explained in detail in Part II of the grower/caretaker and harvester/handler compliance agreements including decontamination and tarping.

Shipment of Fruit to the European Union: Earlier this year, several changes to the federal guidelines were adopted that will affect fresh fruit movement for areas regulated for citrus canker and CBS effective January 1, 2018. Those growers who would like to ship fresh fruit this season will need to sign the new compliance agreement prior to January 1, 2018. In additional to the requirements below, there is a quality assurance component showing that growers are following the recommended cultural practices for in the UF-IFAS Florida Citrus Production Guide:

- For shipment of fruit to the European Union from outside of counties that are quarantined for CBS but under the statewide citrus canker quarantine, growers are required to implement cultural practices to minimize the effects and spread of citrus canker as recommended in the UF-IFAS Florida Citrus Production Guide. CHRP regulatory inspectors will conduct quality assurance checks to show implementation of cultural practices. Growers will be required to make a “CC” notation on trip tickets to indicate that the grower is in compliance with the practices and also include their grower compliance number on the trip ticket. Proof of area freedom from CBS is required and will be validated by CBS survey and Multi-Pest survey performed by FDACS inspectors.

- For shipment of fruit to the European Union from within the CBS countywide quarantines and under the statewide citrus canker quarantine (counties quarantined for CBS are Collier, Hendry, Lee and Polk), preharvest surveys will be required; harvest permits will be issued for proof of freedom from disease along with grower assurance of the implementation of cultural practices per the UF-IFAS Florida Citrus Production Guide instructions in pest and disease management. Growers will mark trip tickets with “TARP-Q” to show the fruit is coming out of a CBS quarantine, make the “CC” notation to indicate the growers’ efforts to mitigate the incidence of citrus canker in their groves and include their grower compliance number on the trip ticket.

The new compliance agreements are available from the five CHRP offices as follows and they can assist you in getting the new agreement signed:

Avon Park 863-314-5900
Immokalee 239-675-4001
Tavares 352-609-6190
Vero Beach 772-778-5069
Winter Haven 863-298-3000

Email: DPI-CHRP@freshfromflorida.com

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

Florida Citrus Crop Continues to Plummet in the Wake of Irma

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

BARTOW, FL (December 12, 2017) – Hurricane Irma continues to haunt Florida farmers as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday once again decreased its monthly estimate of the state’s 2017-2018 citrus crop.

The USDA now says Florida will produce 46 million boxes of oranges, down 4 million boxes from November and 8 million boxes from October. The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly until the end of the season in July. For more information go to https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/

“This is exactly what we thought would happen as the true damage begins to rear its ugly head in the groves across Florida,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, the state’s largest grower organization. “Unfortunately the situation is going to get worse before it gets better; we think the actual size of the 2017-2018 will not be known until the season is over and all the fruit is picked.”

“Clearly, this lower estimate provides stark evidence that Congress needs to pass a citrus relief package so we can start to rebuild and put the industry on a path to sustainability while saving the communities that rely on citrus.”

On September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma moved through the center of the state pounding Florida’s major citrus producing regions with up to 110 mph winds and 15 inches of rain. The hurricane blew fruit off the tree and caused widespread tree damage. A FCM survey of growers conducted post Irma pegged total fruit loss at almost 60 percent with some reports of 100 percent fruit loss in the Southwest part of the state.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $8.6 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 46,000 people, and covering about 450,000 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

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

FCM Says Irma Damage Threw Off USDA Citrus Crop Estimate

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

LAKELAND, FL (October 12, 2017) – Florida’s largest citrus grower organization said Thursday the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initial estimate of the 2017-2018 citrus crop is well above the crop predicted by the results of their grower damage survey.

Florida Citrus Mutual believes the agency could not accurately account for the full extent of the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma. Historically, the USDA has a high margin of error in crop years with a natural disaster.

“I’m disappointed the USDA did not delay the traditional October crop estimate until more data could be collected to fully assess the damage wrought by Irma,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “Irma hit us just a month ago and although we respect the skill and professionalism of the USDA, there is no way they can put out a reliable number in that short time period.”

On September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma moved through the center of the state hitting Florida’s major citrus producing regions with up to 120 mph winds. The hurricane blew fruit off the tree and caused widespread tree damage. An FCM survey of growers conducted post Irma pegged total fruit loss at more than 50 percent with some reports of 100 percent fruit loss in the Southwest part of the state.

The USDA makes its first estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July. For more information go to https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/

The USDA’s total orange forecast is for 54 million boxes, made up of 23 million Early and Midseason and 31 million boxes of Valencias. The total grapefruit forecast is for 4.9 million boxes, with whites at 900,000 and colored at 4 million boxes. Total specialty comes in at 1 million boxes.

Mutual’s grower survey predicted the 2017-2018 orange crop closer to 31 million boxes.

“The long-term effect of Irma on our industry will take years to sort out,” Sparks said. “We had groves underwater and those trees aren’t just going to bounce back and continue producing fruit. They are gone.”

“Just like when the hurricanes hit in 2004-2005 and dramatically re-shaped out industry. Irma was a historic event that dealt Florida citrus a major blow.”

The Florida citrus industry creates a $8.6 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 46,000 people, and covering about 450,000 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

-30-

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

Hurricane Irma Survey

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Dear Mutual Members and Friends:

I hope this finds you well and in recovery mode. We are eyeing the current storm activity in the Gulf and are cautiously optimistic none will follow the path of Irma.

Thank you so much to those of you who have answered our short Irma damage survey. The information will go a long way to provide Legislators, the industry and officials with a baseline to create a financial assistance program as well as support the various legislative asks we are pursuing at the state and federal level to get citrus trees back in the ground.

To those of you who have not sent us the survey, please take a few minutes and do it now. I cannot emphasize how important it is to have this information quickly and accurately.

Send your answers to floridacitrusmutual@yahoo.com .

Questions:

1) What county(s) and how many acres do you manage?

2) Estimate total fruit loss as a percentage

3) Estimate the acute wind damage to trees as a percentage

4) Estimate acres in standing water as total acres and as a percentage

Please forward this email to every grower you know – they may not be on our distribution list and we need as much data as possible. We hope that you can favor us with a response by Thursday September 21. However, we will incorporate subsequent responses.

Thanks for your help on this and we will keep you updated as information comes in.

Regards,

Mike Sparks
Executive VP/CEO

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

Fruit Juice for Kids: A Serving a Day OK

Friday, March 24th, 2017

From the Helena Independent Record, March 23, 2017

THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Pediatricians have long suggested that fruit juice may prompt weight gain in children, but a new review finds it harmless when consumed in moderation.

“Based on the current evidence, we didn’t find that consuming one serving [of 100-percent fruit juice] a day contributes to weight gain in children,” said study author Dr. Brandon Auerbach. He is acting instructor of medicine at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

To come to that conclusion, the investigators analyzed the results of eight published studies involving over 34,000 children that looked at fruit juice intake and the effect on weight.

Children under the age of 6 who drank a serving a day gained a small amount of weight, but not enough to be clinically significant, the findings showed.

The amount was truly tiny, less than a pound over a year’s time, Auerbach noted. And the review did not prove that fruit juice consumption caused the weight gain.

In addition, children aged 7 to 18 who drank a serving a day saw no clinical effects on weight, the researchers said.

The younger children favored apple juice, while the older ones were more likely to drink orange juice. The study authors explained that orange juice, which has a lower glycemic index, may be linked with less weight gain. Food and drink with a lower glycemic index are linked with lower and slower rises in blood sugar levels.

The researchers stressed that their report specifically focused on 100-percent fruit juice, not fruit-flavored drinks or fruit sodas.

Senior study author, Dr. James Krieger, is executive director of Healthy Food America. He said, “The evidence on weight gain, diabetes [risk] and other health conditions for [drinking] sugar-sweetened beverages — like soda and fruit drinks — is very solid.”

What has been debated, according to Krieger, is whether sugar in 100-percent fruit juice is linked with the same health effects.

For now, Krieger and Auerbach said, they advise parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for 100-percent fruit juice consumption: 4 to 6 ounces a day for children aged 6 and younger, and 8 to 12 ounces a day for kids aged 7 to 18.

Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis, said that the new findings put the issue in perspective.
Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox

“Concerns around childhood obesity have caused many to try to find ‘the food’ that is the cause,” Diekman explained.

“This study did a nice job in assessing the impact of 100-percent fruit juice on weight, a food often blamed for the growing incidence of childhood obesity,” she said.

“As a registered dietitian, this study reinforces the messages I provide my clients: 100-percent fruit juice — not fruit drinks or beverages — can fit into a healthful eating plan. But it is important, as with all foods, to learn portion sizes,” Diekman stressed.

“In addition, I always remind people that whole fruit — whether fresh, frozen or canned — can provide more satiety since we don’t seem to recognize fullness from liquids, while we do from solids,” she said.

The study was published online March 23 in the journal Pediatrics.

Posted in Daily Squeeze | No Comments »

Albritton Announces Candidacy for Florida Senate District 26

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Today, State Representative Ben Albritton announced that he has filed to become a candidate for the Florida Senate in District 26. First elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010, Albritton represents District 56, which includes all of DeSoto and Hardee Counties as well as the southern portions of Polk County.

“It has truly been an honor to serve Florida’s Heartland for the past seven years,” said Albritton. “If given the opportunity, I want to continue the fight for the conservative reforms that protect and grow jobs here at home, that make our communities safer, and that value the lives of all Floridians.”

Known for his strong conservative record, Albritton has been a staunch advocate in the Florida House for entrepreneurs, Second Amendment rights, and the unborn. He is especially proud of his work on behalf of children in Florida’s foster care system. In Tallahassee, he is the Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee. He also sits on the Appropriations Committee, the Agriculture and Property Rights Subcommittee, and the Government Accountability Committee and currently serves as the Chair of the Polk County Legislative Delegation.

Albritton is a citrus grower and businessman, working in a family-run business where he feels privileged to work and spend time with members of his family. He is a devoted husband to his wife, Missy, and together they are proud parents of three children: Rebecca, Joshua, and Ryan. They are members of First Christian Church of Wauchula, where Albritton serves as an elder.

District 26 is currently held by Senator Denise Grimsley, who recently filed as a candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture. Centered in Florida’s Heartland, the district covers parts of Charlotte, Lee, and Polk Counties as well as all of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, and Okeechobee Counties.

Posted in Daily Squeeze | 1 Comment »