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Updated: 03/13/2018 08:30:01AM

USDA: Citrus size

below average

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FILE- In this July 14, 2006 file photo, with ripe Valencia oranges waiting to be picked as Juan Tinajero climbs a ladder in Arcadia, Fla. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture released its citrus production forecast Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The forecast this year’s Florida orange crop is approaching the fruit’s lowest crop total in 24 years. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)


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SEBRING — Shannon Shepp, executive director for the Florida Department of Citrus, had trouble raising a cheer from diners at last Friday’s Florida Citrus Hall of Fame lunch.

The call for a cheer of “I am (your name) and I believe in Florida Citrus” got lukewarm participation from the crowd of citrus growers, supporters and advocates. They did have something to celebrate that day, beyond induction of two citrus leaders into the Citrus Hall of Fame. Florida’s struggling citrus crop, bit by disease and battered by Hurricane Irma, has held steady over the past month based on the newly released forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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