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October 2020, Volume 26, Number 4

Florida, Southeast

Florida produced 68 million boxes of oranges in 2019-20, including 38 million boxes of Valencia oranges, down slightly from 2018-19. Another 4.8 million boxes of grapefruit were harvested.

Florida had $7.6 billion in farm sales in 2017, including 77 percent from crops. The leading crops by sales were oranges, $1 billion; strawberries, $337 million; tomatoes, $262 million; and bell peppers, $206 million.

At the behest of Florida and Georgia fruit and vegetable growers, the US is considering tariffs on blueberries, strawberries, and peppers imported from Mexico. The USTR in September 2020 announced so-called 201 investigations into Mexican production of these commodities to determine whether imports of berries and vegetables from Mexico hurt US producers.

In the first half of 2020, the US imported $500 million worth of blueberries, including half from Mexico, $610 million worth of strawberries, almost all from Mexico, and $800 million worth of peppers, 80 percent from Mexico. Florida blueberry growers say that the Mexican government subsidizes berry production in Mexico, where labor costs are a tenth those of Florida growers.

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