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Sun Nov 10, 2019, 11:55 AM

The end of Florida orange juice? A lethal disease is devastating the state's citrus industry.

Ninety percent of the state’s groves are infected by a bacterium called huang long bing, which, like oranges, originated in China. The pathogen often prevents raw green fruit from ripening, a symptom called citrus greening. Even when the fruit does ripen, it sometimes drops to the ground before it can be picked. Under Florida law, citrus that falls from a tree untouched cannot be sold.

As the state prepares for the November to May harvest, thousands of growers have already quit, leaving “ghost groves” in their wake. More than 7,000 farmers grew citrus in 2004; since then, nearly 5,000 have dropped out.

About two-thirds of the factories that processed fruit to juice have shut down. The number of packing operations – which make oranges, tangerines and grapefruit look polished for picky buyers – has nosedived from nearly 80 to 26. And 34,000 jobs were eliminated in the 10 years up to 2016, according to a University of Florida study.

The loss of so many farmers and citrus cultivation could be the death the state’s second-largest industry behind tourism, and one that produces more than 80 percent of the country’s orange juice, some economists say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/11/09/end-florida-orange-juice-lethal-disease-is-decimating-its-citrus-industry/

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Reply The end of Florida orange juice? A lethal disease is devastating the state's citrus industry. (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Nov 10 OP
RainCaster Nov 10 #1
MineralMan Nov 10 #2
dameatball Nov 10 #3
left-of-center2012 Nov 10 #5
dameatball Nov 10 #6
left-of-center2012 Nov 10 #10
dameatball Nov 10 #12
NCLefty Nov 11 #22
Blue_true Nov 10 #19
left-of-center2012 Nov 10 #4
Blue_true Nov 10 #20
smirkymonkey Nov 10 #7
Igel Nov 10 #17
smirkymonkey Nov 10 #18
Blue_true Nov 10 #21
CaptainTruth Nov 10 #8
Vinca Nov 10 #9
LeftInTX Nov 10 #13
coeur_de_lion Nov 10 #11
NCjack Nov 10 #14
hatrack Nov 10 #15
Sogo Nov 10 #16
Recursion Nov 11 #23
dameatball Nov 11 #24
csziggy Nov 11 #25
elleng Nov 11 #26
Farmer-Rick Nov 11 #27
gibraltar72 Nov 11 #28
tirebiter Nov 12 #29

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 11:59 AM

1. I could say something snarky about FL voting, but this just sucks

I had no idea the citrus industry was doing so poorly.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:02 PM

2. That citrus disease is also in California, and threatens all citrus growing

there, too, although it has not advanced to the same degree as in Florida. Orange growers everywhere are very, very worried about this, and rightly so.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:05 PM

3. What Disney and growth didn't remove, this disease can. Sad to see. Grew up playing in groves.

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Response to dameatball (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:06 PM

5. What percentage of Florida did Disney 'remove'?

And how many jobs did Disney create?

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:30 PM

6. It wasn't just Disney that removed the groves. It was more the value of real estate for the "boom"

that followed. Land was worth more for developing than growing citrus. Freezes in the 80's did a lot of damage too. After Disney, every type of "World:" you can imagine followed along. So did the thousands upon thousands of lousy paying service jobs. Everyone needed housing.

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Response to dameatball (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 01:21 PM

10. well, that's one opinion n/t

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 01:37 PM

12. Indeed. There seem to be a lot of opinions on DU....:)

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Response to dameatball (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 01:37 AM

22. I remember visiting all these wacky side attractions when I went there as a kid in the 80s.

Ooo kids look, it's "Circus World!"

Thing was probably staffed by pedos. :p

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 07:21 PM

19. The area between where I live on the edge of Ocala and Orlando used to be saturated with orange

groves. Now that stretch is almost all retirement communities, including the massive Villages retirement community. The point that the poster made is valid for groves that were near major or decently large secondary roads. Even secondary roads from my youth have become major highways to support all the housing development. Florida is more than Disney, in fact a few of the old time tourist traps have closed down. Florida has a massive medical services infrastructure (Doctors, Nurses, hospitals, labs, ambulance companies), massive! The people that work in that industry are fairly well paid when compared to less skilled Floridians, they have purchased millions of homes, often in new developments that used to be orange groves.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:05 PM

4. "huang long bing, which originated in China"

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 07:22 PM

20. Yeah, I did a double take on that one too. nt

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:36 PM

7. How depressing.

I keep hearing news like this, that our food sources are in peril and there is little that can be done about it unless environmental issues are addressed seriously. However as long as republicans are in power this is an issue that will never be on the front burner, if it is even addressed at all.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:36 PM

17. This one's globalization, not climate change.

Until a strain that's immune to the virus is found, the number of groves will just continue to decrease.

It's like the demise of the Cavendish banana, going the same way as the Gros Michel. There are bananas that are immune to the new fungus, but they're not as popular or standardized. (I like some of them, but they're not always perfectly that unctuous "banana flavor" that people seem to prefer.)

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Response to Igel (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 05:35 PM

18. Still, uncontrolled capitalism, fueled by republicans. They are destroying our environment

and our food sources out of unmitigated greed. Nothing will stop them before it's all too late.

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Response to Igel (Reply #17)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 07:30 PM

21. I wonder how much of it is due to a change in growing methods.

When I was a youth I played around in orange groves. They had a lot of weeds and plant growth other than the trees in them. That growth was normally ploughed under before the harvest started. Groves that I have seen recently are perfect rows of trees with nothing else there. Maybe the chemicals in some of the weeds protected the orange trees against blight, that is not unheard of with some plant types (the beneficial relationship between tomatoes and basil for example).

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:47 PM

8. And Trump has crippled the govt agencies that do (did) research to combat diseases like this.


Will the farmers understand that? Not unless Democrats explain it to them. Hence the importance of effective messaging.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:50 PM

9. I wonder if that's the problem with the oranges I'm finding at the grocery store.

99 cents apiece for these things and when you cut into them they're tasteless, fibrous bits of horror. I've finally given up on them in favor of clementines.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 02:28 PM

13. No

Groves are constantly scouting for citrus greening. There are quarantines etc. Can't move citrus trees into and out of certain counties in Texas. I'm sure Florida is much stricter.

I don't know what's going on with the oranges in your store......Did you know that an orange is not a natural occurring fruit? It's a hybird between a mandarin and a pomelo (a large grapefruit type fruit).

Pomelo:



Mandarins will always have thinner skin than oranges, simply because of the pomelo parentage in sweet oranges.
Clementines are a mandarin.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 01:25 PM

11. When I moved to FL 24 years ago

The area where I live was (seemed to me) about half citrus groves and half cattle ranches.

I made the mistake of calling the groves orchards and I was scolded severely.

Now both the groves and the ranches are disappearing in favor of housing developments. Dozens of them.

One die hard citrus farmer around the corner from me keeps re-planting every time a disease takes out his groves. He sold most of his land to a housing development and (I suppose) used the money to re-plant and keep his remaining trees alive.

The scent of orange blossoms in March is so heavenly I can't even describe it. We make a point of walking the dog past his house so we can take in the beautiful perfume. It used to be that the whole town had the scent of orange blossoms but most of the groves are gone now.

I feel sad that Florida is changing like this.

I know most people think that Florida is beaches and knuckle dragging MAGA supporters. It's true that many in my town are republicans. But it is so beautiful where I live. I tried living nearer the beach for 6-7 years and missed my little rural town.

Florida is more than hanging chads and thieving republican politicians. I wish people from other states wouldn't assume all of us are MAGA supporters. Our elections have been stolen many times over now.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:12 PM

14. Looks like Trump visited the orange groves, and he touched some. Everything he touches dies.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:19 PM

15. This is a job for . . .Katherine Harris and Celestial Drops!!

No, I am not making this up.

Four years ago, as the state labored to eradicate citrus canker by destroying trees, officials rejected other disease-fighting techniques, saying unproven methods would waste precious time and resources. But for more than six months, the state, at the behest of then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris, did pursue one alternative method -- a very alternative method.

Researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test "Celestial Drops," promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its "improved fractal design," "infinite levels of order" and "high energy and low entropy." But the cure proved useless against canker. That's because it was water -- possibly, mystically blessed water. The "product is a hoax and not based on any credible known science," the state's chief of entomology, nematology and plant pathology wrote to agriculture officials and fellow scientists after testing Celestial Drops in October 2001.

In the same letter, Wayne Dixon recommended that the state break off its relationship with the promoters of Celestial Drops. "We have expended considerable effort in trying to responsibly deal with this group and their products," he stated. "I wish to maintain our standing in the scientific community and not allow these individuals to use our hard-earned credibility for further name-dropping." Dixon's sentiments were not a surprise to other scientists.

"The presentation of Celestial Drops as a citrus canker treatment was . . . largely unintelligible," according to a memo written more than a year earlier by one of the state's chief plant pathologists. "In general, the proposal comes across as unscientific and not worth pursuing." So why did Florida spend months discussing and developing test protocols for Celestial Drops? The initial push came from Harris, now a U.S. House representative and candidate for U.S. Senate. Harris, the granddaughter of legendary citrus baron Ben Hill Griffin Jr., said she was introduced to one of the product's promoters, New York Rabbi Abe Hardoon, in 2000.

EDIT

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-2005-07-05-canker05-story.html

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 04:24 PM

16. This same story

....went around a few years ago....yet there didn't seem to be any scarcity or lack in quality.....

Does this story get floated so they can up the prices?

I'm suspicious....

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Response to Sogo (Reply #16)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 01:57 AM

23. Wasn't that an Eddie Murphy/Dan Akroyd movie? (nt)

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 07:00 PM

24. Apologies for getting sidetracked on a very good OP. Wasn't my intention, just a thought.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 09:28 PM

25. Citrus growers have been worried about this for at least twenty years

My family owned groves since the 1920s when Grandfather bought land during the Florida land bust and my Dad and his brother helped plant the first citrus trees on them about 1928.

We just sold the last of our groves this year. Although our trees and the surrounding groves have not shown any symptoms of greening, they have had severe losses from the increasing freezes - one grove was decimated by the 1989 freeze and the trees we planted to replace them were not mature by the next bad freeze. Then a lot were damaged by the hurricanes of 2004.

Our grove managers recommended taking out the orange trees and planting other crops, such as blueberries, but since my Dad died in 2013, none of us kids were interested in keeping the groves. One went to the grove manager, the other to a family that wants to keep them in citrus.

I wish them all the best, but I don't even like oranges or orange juice, so I am happy to be done with the business.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 09:32 PM

26. Thanks for the info.

Looking forward to Honeybells and CaraCara this/next year.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 09:45 PM

27. It seems to me it just gets harder and harder to grow anything.

I use to have a garden as a kid. Grew most anything I wanted without too much insect or fungal problems. Today if I don't plan for how to fight fungal disease and insects, I will have nothing when harvest time comes.

Marmorated stink bugs, Colorado and blister beetles, weird out of control weeds and milky spore fungus. I never knew any of these things as a kid but I harvested most everything I planted. Not anymore.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Nov 11, 2019, 10:14 PM

28. I hadn't heard of this before Trump became a resident.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 12:30 AM

29. Probably CBW from California orange growers

They’ll be dropping dead when they have to eat noncalfornia oranges at the Arizona border.

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