Florida officials: Slight increase in state's citrus projections

Federal agriculture officials announced a slight increase in Florida citrus projections on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released updated projections for citrus production in the 2020-2021 season. The June forecast projects 52.7 million boxes of Florida oranges, up 2% from the previous month’s projection. That includes 30 million boxes of Valencia oranges, a 3% increase.

Grapefruit and specialty citrus projections saw a small drop, with grapefruit falling 100,000 boxes to 4.1 million boxes and tangerines and tangelos falling 10,000 boxes to 890,000 boxes.

"Health-conscious consumers are continuing to fuel demand for citrus and its immunity-boosting properties, and Florida’s citrus growers are meeting that demand with the world’s finest citrus," Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement. "I’m glad to see Florida restored as the nation’s leading producer of oranges, as we hope for a strong finish to the season for grapefruit and specialty citrus."

Florida’s citrus season runs from October through June, though most of the fruit is harvested from December through May. The USDA’s final report for this season is set to be released July 12.