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Florida citrus growers report crop losses after Hurricane Ian

The full effects of Hurricane Ian on Florida's citrus industry may not be known for awhile, as many areas, including Hardee and Desoto, were still largely without power on Wednesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3dad0ad9d758d82c08adc16139d3d413/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The full effects of Hurricane Ian on Florida's citrus industry may not be known for awhile, as many areas, including Hardee and Desoto, were still largely without power on Wednesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Some Florida citrus growers have lost up to 80% of their crop in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which knocked oranges to the ground with high winds and flooded groves.

Ray Royce, executive director of the Highland Circus Growers Association, told The Ledger in Lakeland that growers were reporting fruit losses of 15% to 80%.

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"When you get into western Highlands County and Hardee and DeSoto counties, there is tremendous flooding in the Myakka River Valley," Royce said. "It is my understanding that a lot of groves in that area have been in deep water for five or six days now."

Matt Joyner, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, told WUSF, "Folks are trying to get water off their trees to the extent that they can pump water off, though in a lot of instances there is no place to send it."

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The full effects of Hurricane Ian on Florida's citrus industry may not be known for awhile, as many areas, including Hardee and Desoto, were still largely without power on Wednesday.

Alico, which owns 48,900 acres of citrus groves in Florida, said in a press release on Friday that initial reports indicated "significant drop of fruit from trees."

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The company said it would likely take at least two seasons for the groves to recover to pre-hurricane production levels.

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Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried encouraged growers to report crop losses to the Department of Agriculture to stay eligible for crop-insurance programs.

Ian struck the southwest coast of Florida on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 hurricane, before moving across the peninsula into the central and eastern parts of the state, where much of the citrus is grown.

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