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Florida orange crop estimate drops again

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop decreased 6 million boxes to 104.3 million boxes. While early-mid varieties accounted for 53.3 million boxes, Valencias dropped 6 million boxes to 51 million boxes.

"This decrease is about what we expected with the continuing effects of HLB, or citrus greening so we are not surprised," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a press release. "The flip side is without the resiliency and superior production methods of the Florida citrus grower it could have been worse. The crop is still very high quality."

More than 750 people are gathered June 11-13 for the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference at the Hyatt Coconut Point in Bonita Springs to discuss the state of the Florida citrus industry. The annual event mixes business, industry issues and camaraderie.

"Our record Conference attendance even in these trying times is a testament to our commitment to the future of our $9 billion industry and the 76,000 jobs it supports," Sparks said in the release.

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

The USDA's estimate of the 2013-14 Florida grapefruit crop stayed at 15.6 million boxes, and specialty fruit held steady at 3.83 million boxes.