Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, November 24, 2017, Page 2, Image 2

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November 24, 2017
People & Places
Growers feel the squeeze as citrus industry drops
Florida Today
(AP) — From a 2-acre plot
on north Merritt Island, Steve
Crisafulli looks at rows of
orange trees, searching for
a glimmer of hope for Bre-
vard’s dying citrus industry.
Crisafulli — a Merritt Is-
land resident whose last name
has been synonymous with the
citrus business for five gener-
ations — has given over this
small grove on his family’s
land for a U.S. Department of
Agriculture experiment that
he prays will unlock the secret
of a more disease-resistant or-
ange tree.
The test grove contains
about five different variet-
ies of citrus trees planted in
combination with about 10
different root stocks. The goal
is to determine which combi-
nations work best.
The Crisafullis view the
USDA project as perhaps the
last-ditch effort to stem the
painful, long-term downturn
of the citrus industry. Cit-
rus production in Florida has
dropped 59 percent since the
2008-09 season.
Production plunged even
more in Brevard County, by
87 percent. And, recently, two
of the area’s last traditional
citrus retailers — Harvey’s
Groves stores in Rockledge
and West Melbourne and the
Policicchio Groves retail store
on north Merritt Island — an-
nounced they will not open
their stands for the 2017-18
Malcolm Denemark/Florida Today via AP
Steve Crisafulli examines a tree in a USDA test grove on North Merritt Island, Fla. The grove has four
or five varieties of citrus trees with 10 different root stocks to see how they do. The citrus industry has
been hit hard by canker, greening and the weather.
season. The companies will
keep operating their mail or-
der businesses.
For some, the closing of
these iconic roadside attrac-
tions is a bittersweet reminder
of an older Brevard, a sleepier
community before the rumble
of rockets, when citrus was
king and a muck-free, crys-
tal-clear Indian River teemed
with sea trout and manatees.
Sorting warehouses dominat-
ed the landscape on U.S. 1,
and trucks filled with pungent
fruit plied the roads.
Now, some of those ware-
houses are crumbling dere-
licts, as diseases like canker
and citrus greening — and
hurricanes — have hit the
industry hard. Many growers
decided it was more lucrative
to sell their groves to devel-
opers to transform them into
residential subdivisions, rath-
er than continue growing or-
anges or grapefruits.
And a looming question is
where to buy the renowned
orange and grapefruit juice
that only comes from Indian
River-grown fruit?
Indian River citrus has al-
ways been world-renowned
for its quality and still is, albe-
it with a deeply declining pro-
duction — if you can find it.
Even longtime local citrus
growers like Crisafulli and
Frank Sullivan of Cocoa say
their families now buy their
orange juice at the grocery
store. But it’s not nearly the
same as the fresh-squeezed
“None of it really mea-
sures up,” Sullivan said.
Crisafulli agrees.
“Nothing is as good as
the real thing,” he said with a
Thinking about the citrus
industry’s downturn, Crisa-
fulli says: “I think it’s sad,
because it’s an identity not
just for Brevard, but the entire
“Along the river, on both
sides of the river, and certain-
ly all of Merritt Island, was
nothing but citrus groves,”
Sullivan said. “There were
9,000 acres of citrus inside
NASA,” referring to the
sprawling federal reserve that
is home to the Kennedy Space
That land was “some of the
best growing land in the state”
for citrus, Sullivan said.
The downturn didn’t hap-
pen suddenly. Florida citrus
production peaked in 1997-
98, when 304.45 million
boxes of oranges, grape-
fruits and other citrus were
produced. By 2016-17, that
figure dropped 74 percent to
78.13 million boxes. The lat-
est projection for the current
2017-18 season puts expected
production at 54.65 million
boxes. Each box would weigh
85 to 95 pounds, depending
on the type of fruit.
Sullivan, who is in the
third-generation of his family
in the citrus business, traces
the local industry’s problems
back even further — to the
devastating freezes of the
“That took a lot of citrus
out. Then, there was the dis-
ease,” said Sullivan, who no
longer grows citrus, but con-
tinues to operate the Sullivan
Victory Groves citrus mail
order business on U.S. 1 in
Sullivan and other citrus
mail order businesses in the
region coordinate their pur-
chase of citrus for resale from
a handful of remaining local
growers, including one in
“It facilitates buying the
best fruit” that’s available at
any particular time, said Sulli-
van, who also is a former Ca-
naveral Port Authority com-
missioner. “We go wherever
we can get it.”
This is a peak season for
the mail order business, as
many people want fresh fruit
ahead of the holidays.
Even with the thinning of
the citrus industry in Florida,
Doug Bournique, executive
vice president of the Fort
Pierce-based Indian Riv-
er Citrus League, said he is
hopeful growers in Brevard
will make a resurgence in pro-
ducing oranges and grapefruit
on the Space Coast.
FFA, Les Schwab, Wilco team up to collect 510,000 pounds of food
As the holiday season de-
scends upon us, most people
get to over-indulge in creamy
mashed potatoes, savory tur-
key, and delectable desserts.
But for many Oregonians,
the holidays are more famine
than feast as numerous resi-
dents struggle to provide food
for themselves and their fami-
Since 2008, the Oregon
Food Bank has seen demand
for emergency food boxes in-
crease by 40 percent. It is for
that reason agriculture students
across Oregon want to help
feed those that need it most.
In the spirit of the holiday
season, the Oregon FFA part-
nered with Les Schwab Tire
Centers, Wilco Co-op, Capital
Press and the East Oregonian
newspaper to help combat
hunger. The initial goal of rais-
ing 250,000 pounds of food in
2015 seemed daunting but the
more than 6,000 FFA members
from over 100 chapters and Les
Schwab Tire Centers across Or-
egon made great strides to help
provide the Oregon Food Bank
and other local food pantries
with much needed food.
This year the Drive Away
Courtesy of Oregon FFA Foundation
Oregon FFA members worked with Les Schwab, Wilco Co-op, Capital Press and the East Oregonian
newspaper to collect food for those in need.
Hunger Event collected over
510,150 pounds of food, dou-
ble the original goal, and
enough to provide more than
380,000 meals. Over the past
three years, the event has raised
over 1.5 million pounds of food
for those suffering from food
insecurity, enough food to help
nearly 3,500 Oregon families
for more than a month.
The efforts to collect the
food were as diverse as the
communities themselves.
In Adrian, students gleaned
farm fields after harvest to col-
lect much needed produce as
well as held a class competition,
all of which helped collect over
7 tons of food. Some chapters
focused on working with local
farmers, like Jefferson FFA,
who partnered with Case Farms,
which donated more than
20,000 pounds of winter squash.
Other chapters, like Canby
FFA, hit the streets and went
door-to-door dropping off col-
lection bags in a trick or treat
for cans.
In Prineville, where Les
Schwab Tires first began, the
FFA chapter raised a crop of
potatoes and was able to do-
nate over 9,000 pounds to the
local food banks.
“The FFA thanks all the
farmers, community members
and everyone who brought food,
donated time and helped give to
this effort.” remarked Kevin
White, executive director of the
Oregon FFA Foundation.
In addition to local chapter
efforts, people were encour-
aged to drop food off at any
local Les Schwab store, and
collection bags were distrib-
uted by the Capital Press, the
East Oregonian, Hermiston
Herald, Blue Mountain Eagle,
and the Wallowa Chieftain.
Bags were also available at
Oregon Les Schwab and Wil-
co locations. Most of the food
will be distributed by the Or-
egon Food Bank network and
end up back in the communi-
ties in which it was raised.
This is a very special proj-
ect for the Oregon FFA, where
members were given the chance
to embody the FFA motto of
“…learning to do, doing to
learn, earning to live and living
to serve. In this hunger initia-
tive, FFA members set an ex-
ample of service leadership,”
said White. “It is essential for
these young people to have a
partner like Les Schwab. Les
Schwab employees have, for
decades, served as role models
to our members by serving their
communities and neighbors.”
The Oregon FFA is part of
the National FFA Organization
and is a national youth orga-
nization of 653,359 student
members — all preparing for
leadership and careers in the
science, business and tech-
nology of agriculture. There
are 8,568 local FFA chapters
in all 50 states, Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands.
Monsanto asks Arkansas judge to halt state’s herbicide ban
Associated Press
major agribusiness company
asked an Arkansas judge Fri-
day to halt the state’s plan to
ban an herbicide that’s drawn
complaints from farmers across
several states who say the weed
killer has drifted onto their
fields and caused widespread
Monsanto asked a Pulaski
County judge to strike down
the rule approved by the state
Plant Board earlier this month
that would prohibit the use of
dicamba from April 16 through
Oct. 31. The ban is expected
to go before a legislative panel
next month, but the Missou-
ri-based company said action
is needed now because farmers
are already buying their prod-
ucts for next year’s growing
“The ban severely curtails
Monsanto’s ability to sell its
new dicamba-tolerant seed and
low-volatility dicamba herbi-
cide within the state, and every
day the ban remains in place
costs Monsanto sales and cus-
tomers,” the company said in
its filing.
Sponsored by:
To submit an event go to the
Community Events calendar on the
home page of our website at www. and click on “Sub-
mit an Event.” Calendar items can
also be mailed to Capital Press,
1400 Broadway St. NE, Salem, OR
97301 or emailed to newsroom@ Write “Calendar”
in the subject line.
Tuesday Nov. 28
Developing or Expanding Your
Farm Stand or Agritourism Oper-
ation. 5-8 p.m. OSU Extension,
Auditorium, SOREC, 569 Hanley
Road, Central Point, Ore. A 4-class
series on the subject begins Nov.
28. Sign up for one class or all
four: Nov. 28 is Understanding
Regulations and Licenses for Farm
Stands. Website:
Nov. 28-Dec. 1
Oregon Water Resources Con-
gress Annual Conference. Best
Western Hood River Inn, 1108 E
Marina Drive, Hood River, Ore. Web-
Wednesday, Nov. 29
Establishing Equitable Leases
A spokeswoman for the
state Department of Agriculture
declined to comment on the
Dicamba has been around
for decades, but problems
arose over the past couple of
years as farmers began to use
it on soybean and cotton fields
where they planted new seeds
engineered to be resistant to the
herbicide. Because it can easily
evaporate after being applied,
the chemical sometimes set-
tles on neighboring fields. The
state earlier this year approved
a temporary ban on the herbi-
cide’s sale and use, and has re-
ceived nearly 1,000 complaints
about dicamba this year.
The request to halt next
year’s ban was added to a law-
suit Monsanto filed last month
over the board’s decision in
2016 to prohibit the use of
In its amended lawsuit filed
Friday, the company argued the
Plant Board exceeded its au-
thority by banning dicamba and
did not consider the financial
impact on the state’s farmers.
Monsanto said it would ask the
court to move quickly on its
complaint, and hoped the board
would join in that request.
“This is all about having
the newest technology avail-
able to growers so they can
choose what products they
wish to use to combat those
said Scott Partridge, the com-
pany’s vice president of global
strategy. “There’s no reason to
The company also chal-
lenged the makeup of the
18-member board, arguing
a state law that gives private
groups such as the state Seed
Growers Association power to
appoint members violates Ar-
kansas’ constitution.
for Hazelnut Orchards. 9 a.m.-noon.
OSU Extension, Lane County office,
996 Jefferson St., Eugene, Ore.
or 541-344-1709
Nov. 29-30
Oregon Board of Agriculture
Meeting. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Food Inno-
vation Center, 1207 NW Naito Park-
way, Portland, Ore. On day one, the
board will receive a presentation on
developing a statewide brand to pro-
mote and identify Oregon food and
agricultural products and a briefing on
a recently completed report on cano-
20 Northwest Locations
la research in the Willamette Valley.
Board members will also select indi-
viduals to represent agriculture on the
Oregon Agriculture Heritage Program
and the Oregon Coordinating Council
on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia.
The afternoon includes tours of the
Port of Portland and a cannabis pro-
duction operation. On day two, the
board will hear a discussion of “cap
and invest” carbon-dioxide reduction
efforts that address greenhouse gas
emissions and provide opportunities
for agriculture. Kristen Sheeran, Gov.
Kate Brown’s carbon policy advisor,
and Jenny Lester Moffitt, deputy sec-
retary of the California Department
of Food and Agriculture, will lead the
discussion. Public comment periods
are 10:15 a.m. on day one and 9:15
a.m. on day two. Website: http://bit.
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
Farm Fair and Tradeshow. Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event Center, 1705
E. Airport Road, Hermiston, Ore. Local
and regional agriculture-related busi-
nesses will display their services and
products both inside and outside the
center. There will be many sessions on
topics important to farmers and ranch-
ers. Website:
Capital Press
Established 1928
Board of directors
Mike Forrester
Steve Forrester
Kathryn Brown
Susan Rana
Mike Omeg
Corporate Officer
Heidi Wright
Chief Operating Officer
Capital Press Managers
Joe Beach ..................Editor & Publisher
Elizabeth Yutzie Sell .... Advertising Director
Carl Sampson ................Managing Editor
Jessica Boone ........ Production Manager
Samantha McLaren .... Circulation Manager
Entire contents copyright © 2017
EO Media Group
dba Capital Press
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