Congressman Ted Yoho

Representing the 3rd District of Florida
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Reps. Yoho, Soto Call on USDA to Stabilize Florida Orange Juice Market

Nov 20, 2019
Press Release

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Reps, Ted. S Yoho (FL-03) and Darren Soto (FL-09) led a bipartisan letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture increase funding for orange juice purchase in Florida to $90 million, doubling the initial allocation from this past summer. 

 

After Hurricane Irma, Florida orange production dropped precipitously from 68.7 million boxes in 2017 to 45 million boxes in 2018.  In response, local juice processors purchased a large number of Brazilian oranges. This year, Florida orange groves bounced back much quicker than expected and produced 71.4 million boxes.

 

Now, Florida faces a short-term oversupply of oranges for 2020 which will cause a sharp drop in the estimated price from $2.60 to $1.60 per box, likely putting many local citrus growers out of business. In response, Reps. Soto and Yoho are leading a critical letter to protect these growers from an expected one year glut.

 

“We should fight to protect Florida’s signature agriculture crop: orange juice,” wrote the Members. “After many years of setbacks in the orange juice industry, due to citrus greening and hurricanes, it is a uniquely important call of action to protect growers this year.” Some Florida growers have indicated that without such protections for this year’s crop, many farmers face the prospect of closing down their orange operations.

 

Full text of the letter is below.

 

November 20, 2019

 

The Honorable Sonny Perdue    

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, DC 20250  

              

 

Dear Secretary Perdue,

 

We urge the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Agriculture Marketing Service or the Trade Mitigation program, to fully and fairly consider increasing the funding allocation for orange juice purchase to $90 million dollars.[1] On July 25, 2019, the USDA, through the Agriculture Marketing Service, announced up to $47 million for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs.[2]  

 

We should fight to protect Florida’s signature agriculture crop: orange juice. Florida’s orange juice inventory increased significantly and unexpectedly after the devastation of Hurricane Irma. However, because the processors entered into agreements with international orange juice companies, the domestic supply substantially exceeds the projected need, forcing extreme downward pressure on prices for growers. The Florida Department of Citrus projects an average price of $1.62 per pound solid for oranges picked through March, which is nearly a dollar less from the 2017-2018 average price of $2.59 per pound solids.[3]

 

After many years of setbacks in the orange juice industry due to citrus greening and hurricanes, it is uniquely important to protect growers this year. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter

 

Sincerely,

 

Darren Soto                                                                                                             Ted. S Yoho, D.V.M

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Neal P. Dunn                                                                                                            Al Lawson

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Gus Bilirakis                                                                                                             Mario Diaz-Balart

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Alcee L. Hastings                                                                                                     Kathy Castor

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Ross Spano                                                                                                              Donna E. Shalala

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Ted Deutch                                                                                                              Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

John H. Rutherford                                                                                                 Bill Posey

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Charlie Crist                                                                                                             Val Demings      

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Lois Frankel                                                                                                             Stephanie Murphy

Member of Congress                                                                                             Member of Congress

 

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

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