Dante Galeazzi of Texas International Produce Association and April Flowers of Lone Star Citrus Discuss Texas Citrus Assessment
TEXAS - As ANUK continues to assess the effects of the recent Texas weather, we reached out to our friends at Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) and Lone Star Citrus to better understand the general outlook of one category in particular: citrus.
“Unfortunately, it looks bad. I do not want to be an alarmist, but it looks like we’re about done with this season. The big challenge is going to be mitigating the impact to next year’s crop. Our growers are going to have their hands full for the next few months, monitoring tree health, hoping for a late bloom, and pruning back dead branches. There’s going to be fruit for the 2021–2022 season, but the question will be how much,” remarked Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO of TIPA.
For those suppliers impacted by what some are calling the “Valentine Freeze,” Dante directed my attention to two USDA Disaster Relief programs: the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Documentation and assessment of what was lost in the freeze will hopefully allow growing operations to supplement this loss.
I also turned to April Flowers, Marketing Director of Lone Star Citrus, to better understand her outlook for Texas citrus.
“Although we still do not know exactly how the freezing temperatures will ultimately affect the citrus trees and the upcoming 2021–22 season, the early bloom was lost in the freeze, and defoliation of the canopy has begun,” April explained. “Fruit remaining on the trees has begun to drop on its own as harvesters continue to clean the trees. We do have some good news in that we are already seeing some fresh shoots on budwood in young orchards indicating the trees’ initial recovery. With proper irrigation and time, the trees will have the opportunity to flush and bloom, at which point we will begin to estimate next season’s crop; however, each day seems to provide a clearer picture of what we can expect. For now, we are extremely pleased to see these new shoots.”
Dante also mentioned in an interview with WBUR News that Texas consumers and people throughout the Midwest will likely experience additional costs when it comes to grocery store prices, because stores will have to stock their shelves with products from a different growing region.
As we see a shift in expected supplies, who will fill the need? AndNowUKnow will continue to report so that the buy-side can stay ahead of its citrus programs this spring and summer.