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IPFS News Link • Florida

Orange juice price hike looms after Hurricane Ian batters Florida's citrus orchards

•, by: Mary Villareal

Based on University of Florida estimates, 375,000 acres of citrus may have been impacted. Combine it with the storm's already devastating blow on a struggling industry due to citrus greening, and it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Predictions on increasing orange juice prices started before Hurricane Ian made landfall as storm projections saw the storm heading toward Tampa. However, landfall ended up around two hours south, near Fort Myers, suggesting even more widespread damage to citrus crops.

Orange juice futures are up almost 30 percent this year so far, and the timing of the storm is difficult – especially since the citrus crops are nearing their harvest season. November orange juice futures contracts are as high as $1.90 per pound.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio laid out the potential problem ahead: "The citrus industry in Florida is already teetering on the brink because of citrus greening. They lose this year's crop and a bunch of trees; you can't just restart that."

This year is expected to be the smallest citrus crop in Florida since World War II. At its peak, the state produced 244 million 90-pound boxes of oranges annually. This year, orange growers are only expected to produce 44.5 million boxes. This dwindling supply is set to push up orange juice prices at grocery stores and supermarkets.