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Florida orange crop forecast sees slight increase

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop inched up 300,000 boxes to 110.3 million boxes.

Early-mid varieties accounted for the full increase, coming in at 53.3 million boxes. Valencias remained at 57 million boxes.

"This is good news and we are hopeful there will not be any more decreases throughout the last two months of season," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a press release. "It has been a challenging season to say the least, but growers continue to produce quality fruit, which is a testament to their resiliency."

During the 2012-13 season, Florida produced 133.6 million boxes of oranges. 

The USDA's estimate of the 2013-14 Florida grapefruit crop decreased 400,000 boxes from 16 million boxes to 15.6 million boxes. White grapefruit increased by 100,000 boxes while colored grapefruit were reduced by 500,000 boxes. Specialty fruit held steady at 3.83 million boxes.

For the complete USDA estimate, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Florida/Publications/Citrus/cpfp.htm.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 525,000 acres.

Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is one of the state's larger citrus grower organizations. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com.