• Florida citrus growers blame Irma for worst year since 1940s

    NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Florida's citrus growers are blaming Hurricane Irma for one of their worst seasons in decades.

    In a Naples Daily News report , U.S. agriculture officials said Florida's orange production dropped nearly 35 percent from the previous season. Grapefruit production was half of what it was last year.

    The 49.5 million boxes of citrus fruits produced in Florida was the smallest number recorded since the 1941-1942 season.

    Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said federal funding would help growers recover. Ron Hamel of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association said some growers are "cautiously optimistic" about next season.

    Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has said Irma caused over $1 billion in losses for the citrus industry. The hurricane uprooted trees and waterlogged many groves for weeks, damaging root systems and stunting growth.

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