The Florida's Orange Crisis: How Your Juice is at Risk

Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that your favorite breakfast drink is no longer available. How would you feel?

That’s the nightmare scenario that could happen if Florida’s orange crop continues to decline.

Yes, that's right!

The state’s citrus industry is facing a double whammy of climate change and disease, resulting in lower production and higher prices.

Climate change is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense, affecting the growth and quality of oranges.

Droughts, floods, heat waves, and frosts can all damage the trees and the fruits.

Florida suffered hurricanes, cold snap, and citrus greening disease.

Citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing or HLB, is a bacterial infection that affects all types of citrus trees.

It is spread by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, which feeds on the sap of the leaves.

The disease causes the leaves to turn yellow and mottled, the roots to decay, and the fruits to become small, green, bitter, and misshapen.

The disease has no cure and eventually kills the tree.

According to USDA, Florida’s orange production is expected to drop by 32% from the previous season, reaching its lowest level since 1945.

The decline in Florida’s orange crop has several consequences for you as a consumer, such as higher prices, lower quality, and less variety of orange juice.

You may notice that your juice is less sweet, less flavorful, or more acidic.

The quality is also affected as much as the quantity.

You may also have less choice in the type of orange juice you buy.

For example, Valencia oranges, which are popular for juicing, are more vulnerable to citrus greening disease than other varieties.

But don’t despair. There are some actions you can take to help Florida’s orange crop and your juice.

Start by buying local, reducing waste, donating or volunteering for organizations that work to protect or restore the citrus industry.

By doing so, you can enjoy your juice while supporting a vital industry that provides jobs, income, and environmental benefits to millions of people.

So next time you sip your juice, remember that it’s not just a drink. It’s a story of resilience, innovation, and hope.

And you can be part of it.