Florida governor Rick Scott unveiled a proposed US$87.4bn 2018 state budget this week, nicknamed the 'Securing Florida's Future' budget, which included a potentlal lifeline for Florida's ailing citrus industry.
Scott's budget proposes US$22m for the Florida Citrus industry, including US$5m supporting Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) marketing programmes aimed at educating and increasing awareness among consumers of the health benefits of Florida Citrus and Florida Orange Juice as well as US$650,000 for new variety research ensuring Americans have access to the citrus they love long into the future.
“Florida has an incredible and iconic citrus industry and following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma, I am fully committed to helping this industry, and the many families that rely on it, fully recover," explained Scott. "I am proud to announce more than US$21m for Florida’s world famous citrus industry which will support important research opportunities, awareness efforts and ongoing recovery operations. We will continue to fight for Florida’s farmers and their families as we work with the Legislature to pass this significant investment.”
FDOC executive director Shannon Shepp said: "Governor Scott's Securing Florida's Future budget recognises the deep legacy of Florida's citrus industry, and its great contributions to our economy over the years. We couldn't be more grateful for his commitment to see Florida Citrus through our many challenges, and continue our pledge to be present and accountable in all budget actions."