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Disease Continues To Squeeze Florida Orange Forecast

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Already forecast to be lower than last year's yield, citrus greening has dropped this season's orange production prediction even further.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said the season's Florida orange production will be down 1 percent from the earlier forecast.

"Citrus greening continues to have a huge impact on our industry," Doug Ackerman, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, said in a release. "But, there is also reason for hope. Growers in some parts of the state continue to report positive yields --- proof that the hard work and dedication of our industry is making a difference."

The 2014-2015 crop was already forecast to be below the 2013-14 yield.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has asked state lawmakers for $18 million to fight diseases impacting the citrus industry. The money would also be used to grow clean citrus stock and plant new trees in areas where diseased trees have been removed.

The state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 includes $3.5 million for citrus-disease research and $500,000 for in-state citrus-breeding programs and to develop and acquire new citrus varieties.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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