Citrus forecast delayed due to government shutdown

LAKELAND, Fla. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's anticipated initial citrus forecast has been delayed until President Barack Obama and congressional leaders resolve their federal budget impasse.

The Lakeland Ledger reports the forecast was supposed to come out on Friday but is delayed because of the partial government shutdown.

The USDA usually releases its citrus forecast in mid-October, and it influences the negotiations between Florida growers and juice processors on farm prices for their fruit. Processors buy 95 percent of Florida's orange crop and more than 60 percent of the state's grapefruit harvest each season.

Growers and processors don't have a lot of faith yet in how many oranges and grapefruit will stay on the tree by November, when this season's harvest begins, largely due to citrus greening disease.

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