- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Federal agriculture officials have reduced expectations for Florida’s citrus crop for the coming year.

The Ledger reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced the projected Florida orange harvest to 46 million boxes, an 8 percent decline from the agency’s November estimate.

The declines are expected among orange varieties picked from October to March and Valencia oranges harvested from March to June.

The USDA also reduced the expected tangerine and tangelo harvest by 4 percent to 910,000 boxes. Grapefruit crop estimates remain at 4.65 million boxes.

Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Michael Sparks said the reductions show the need for a federal citrus-relief package to help citrus growers recover from Hurricane Irma. The fatal bacterial disease citrus greening also continues to plague Florida’s groves.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Florida’s growers need support “as quickly as possible.”

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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com

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