WUFT News

How A Fourth Generation Citrus Farmer Fights To Save His Grove – The Greening Series, Part 2

By on August 20th, 2014
Citrus Greening
Steve Futch, UF IFAS Extension agent, and family farmer, Mac Turner, right, tour the new orange tree plantings on Turner’s family farm in Arcadia, Fla. in April 2014. (Heather van Blokland/WUFT)

Citrus farmer Mac Turner is fighting to keep his orange grove alive. Mac and his three siblings own 1,000 acres of citrus groves in Arcadia, Florida, which has been in the family for four generations. Mac’s family and other growers in the state are fighting citrus greening, the worst disease to hit the citrus industry ever.

First seen in Florida in 2004, citrus greening is a bacterial disease that prevents nutrients from being absorbed by a tree, producing smaller, bitter, unripened fruit to fall from the tree before maturity. University of Florida citrus research scientists estimate every grove in the state is infected.

That means every grower is suffering, paying more and more to feed trees the additional nutrients required to keep grove trees alive and the cost is too much for some to stay in business.

“It’s like cancer. One cancer cell doesn’t make me sick, but all together they do. It’s a tipping point,” said University of Florida IFAS Extension Agent Steve Futch. Futch spends every day with guys like Mac Turner, coming up with ways to deal with greening during production season, on the farm.

Agriculture is the second biggest industry in Florida, after, tourism, employing 75,000 people across the state.  Greening is wiping out smaller farmers and will soon wipe out mid and larger citrus farmers, said Justin Sorrells, President of Sorrells Citrus Inc. in Arcadia.

Grower communities are desperate to help but don’t know how. “We’re in a pinnacle of panic,” said Barbara Carlton, retired president of the Peace River Citrus Valley Growers Association. “More and more growers are going to quit. We don’t have a handle on it. I believe there will be a way. I don’t know what it is.”

While industry leaders and researchers are focused on a cure for the future, the grower today is focused on how to care for the tree in the soil and the fruit that continues to fall on the ground.

Editor’s note: The headline, audio and first paragraph of this article were modified to reflect that Mac Turner is not abandoning his farm nor the citrus industry. 


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • free fertilizer.inc

    Theres a cure for citrus greening! ! freefertilizer.com
    Yes the cure is free you have to go to freefertilizer.com to order it
    you’re welcome.

  • http://darkmattersalot.com/ ChemE Stewart

    It is cell tower 3G/4G electromagnetic radiation, HDTV and microwave radar towers causing the canker and greening, they are gradually cooking the trees, which act like antennas, absorbing radiation and discharging through the roots to ground. Low pH acidic trees are good conductors of electricity. The cooking trees give off odors attracting bugs/psyllids

    5 bars on the cell phone are destroying nature.

    Research @ darkmattersalot

 

More Stories in Environment

This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Cedar Key School’s Future Farmers Of America Chapter Fights Local Hunger

Students from Cedar Key School, a public K-12 school, vow to fight hunger in Levy County by cultivating land at the school to provide fresh, healthy food. The school donated 7,000 pounds of fresh food to the Cedar Key United Methodist Church Food Pantry.


The town’s water tank lies behind a barbed chain link fence in the forest, across from Otter Creek Baptist Church. When the water is stored, the contaminants accumulate because it sits in the pipes and doesn’t circulate.

Water Contamination Problems Persist In Otter Creek

Otter Creek’s search to buy land acquisition with a source of clean water may lead to an end to the town’s ongoing water-contamination issues.


Withlacoochee River and Dunnellon Trail Bridge.

Long-Awaited Dunnellon Blue Run Trail Extension Under Construction

Dunnellon is using funds from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant to finish a section of path that connects the Dunnellon and Blue Run trails. The trail will now fully support hiking, jogging, biking and rollerblading after its expected completion in December.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments