Iowa Public Television


Hurricanes Decimate Florida Tomatoes, Citrus

posted on January 13, 2006

The effects of the 2005 hurricane season are readily apparent in the Florida tomato and citrus crops of 2006. Hamburger seller Wendy's has changed its sandwich policy in light of a tomato shortage. While customers still can get tomatoes on their sandwiches, they must make a special request.

Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini says the policy could end in a few weeks when new crops become available.

Citrus growers in the sunshine state have a different problem. Not only did hurricanes devastate the crop with an estimated $2.2 billion in damages, but they have allegedly spread citrus plant diseases.

Agriculture officials are reviewing a state law that requires the destruction of citrus trees within a 1,900-foot radius of one infected with citrus canker, a disease known for creating unsightly lesions on fruit.

Citrus growers are seeking to ease the 1,900-foot law and two Florida growers have sued the state, challenging the constitutionality of the eradication program and its right to destroy property without paying compensation.

Tags: agriculture crops Florida hurricanes news oranges storms tomatoes weather