This industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in the production of citrus fruits.
Citrus (except Orange) Groves
Citrus fruits include oranges, tangelos, temples, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Oranges make up about 65 percent of total worldwide citrus production; tangelos, temples, and tangerines make up 15 percent; lemons and limes 10 percent; and grapefruits, 10 percent. Oranges and grapefruit account for approximately 90 percent of U.S. citrus production.
With more than 20,000 U.S. producers of all sizes, no one grower is dominant in the production phase. The industry governs its own marketing orders. Growers heed marketing factors as they specify grade and standard of crop leaving the region. They control the amount of product leaving the region during marketing season, and designate periods when no new product can be shipped. Growers also provide market support such as research and price information, and provide market development programs. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the number of citrus fruit acres planted has steadily declined. Acres planted in 2002 totaled 1.05 million, compared to 1.15 million in 1997.
Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona, all subtropical regions, produce the bulk of citrus fruits in the United States. Tropical cultivation is not as productive since seasonal changes are necessary for proper fruit growth. Citrus trees can withstand short periods of light frost, but hard frosts of long duration can be devastating.
The modern citrus industry depends on regular and frequent irrigation, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, and other fertilizers. Harvesting is still often accomplished through manual means, although mechanical techniques are increasingly being used.
In the fresh fruit market, there is a great deal of competition, especially considering that, since around 1970, the per capita consumption of fresh oranges has declined, and since 1976, the consumption of fresh grapefruit has also decreased. With some fluctuations in between, per capita consumption of oranges has dropped from 16.2 pounds in 1970 to 12.1 pounds in 2002, while grapefruit consumption tapered off from 8.2 pounds in 1970 to 4.8 pounds in 2002. Of the total orange harvest in 2002, only 14 percent was consumed as fresh fruit, while 40 percent of grapefruits were consumed fresh. In the United States, almost all fresh citrus was garnered from domestic sources.
Processed fruit takes two forms: ready-to-serve juice (also known as single-strength equivalent, or SSE) and concentrate. Both forms have become very popular among consumers, mostly for their convenience. The variety of canned, frozen, and ready-to-serve juices in supermarkets is clear evidence of how the public responds to the processed product.
Citrus growers in the United States generally operate under one of three production philosophies. The first of these is to physically hand the fruit over to a packinghouse, processor, or middleman. A second option involves contracting with the...