Despite a decrease in citrus production, the Florida Citrus industry contributed more value to the state of Florida in 2019/20 than the previous season.
This was according to a study conducted by the University of Florida, which found that the Florida Citrus industry had an economic impact of US$6.762bn to the state and supported more than 33,300 jobs.
“Even at a time when many industries faced economic uncertainty, the Florida citrus industry continued to provide strong economic contributions to the state of Florida and the many small communities it serves and supports,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.
“As consumers increasingly turned to Florida Citrus for its health and wellness benefits in recent months, the Florida citrus industry delivered the great tasting and quality products we are known for worldwide," Shepp noted. "While challenges remain, it is clear the Florida citrus industry continues to create immense value for not only the state but all Floridians.”
The report indicated that the majority of the industry’s value in 2019/20 came from the manufacturing of citrus juice and byproducts at US$4.741bn.
Citrus fruit production accounted for US$1.816bn and the process of moving fresh citrus from grower to the packhouse door accounted for another US$204m.
The report also showed that the industry supported 33,381 full-time and part-time jobs in 2019/20 with labour income contributions amounting to US$1.531bn in wages, salaries, benefits, and business proprietor income.
This value led to state and local tax contributions of US$140m, including property tax, sales, tax, water management district taxes, intangible taxes, motor fuel and vehicle taxes, excise taxes and more. Total federal tax contributions equalled US$360m in 2019/20.
Additionally, citrus juice shipped from Florida to other states and foreign countries was estimated at a value of US$2.731bn and select byproducts at US$59.45m.
Further economic contributions to the state are experienced in the forms of supply chain linkages and household spending of income.
While the economic impact to the state is significant, the value is most felt in our rural communities where citrus remains the backbone of the economy, according to Dr Marisa Zansler, economic and market research director at the Florida Department of Citrus.
“Although the economic contributions of the citrus industry in some rural counties may account for a small portion of these figures, the study findings demonstrate that their contributions are more impactful for the economic health of the area in which they are located because these industries represent a higher share of total economic activity,” Zansler said.
The economic impact study was conducted by the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Economic Impact Analysis Program, which creates similar studies for other agricultural commodities.
The study was last done for the 2018/19 season and found the Florida citrus industry had an economic impact of US$6.5bn.