Florida's orange crop destruction may impact Michiana

Published: Sep. 13, 2017 at 11:57 PM EDT
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If you like orange juice, you're likely going to be spending more for it at the store. We are now learning that much of this years' orange crop from Florida was destroyed during Hurricane Irma.

The crop was already affected before the hurricane. It was suffering from Citrus Greening, a disease that impacts the yield of oranges and has no cure. Prior to the hurricane the crop was down 12 percent, but now early estimates from the Florida Farm Bureau Federation said at least 60 percent of Florida orange trees were lost from Irma.

"Florida's a major producer of both fruits and vegetables, specifically oranges," said Clint Griffiths, AG Day TV Host. "All of the oranges that you find in the grocery that you drink in orange juice, most of those are grown in Florida."

The hurricane may impact the price of OJ.

"It could have an impact on the price that you pay at the grocery store, but it's going to take a little bit of time before we realize that impact," Griffiths said.

On Wednesday, both Florida senators assessed the crop damage.

"There's not been a lot of attention paid to it because of the scale and the scope of the storm, but people forget agriculture's one of our cornerstone industries," said Senator Marco Rubio.

Oranges start growing in the spring and harvest in the fall.

"Citrus growers are the type of farmers that get one type of crop a year and this group was already a long way along, it was just about mature, everything about green, about to turn orange so they won't have another crop until next year so this is kind of it for the Florida crop now," said Griffiths.

Because orange juice is mostly made from Florida Oranges we may feel that impact at the store. According to Griffiths orange juice makers also import many oranges from other countries, so the impact may not be quite as much.

Oranges aren't the only crops impacted. Other produce and vegetables we get from Florida like fall tomatoes we could see gaps and price increases on them in the upcoming months.