With the citrus industry facing challenges due to hurricanes, greening and the lowest annual production since World War II, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is working to improve services and business processes for citrus industry customers.
That’s why District Executive Director Brian Armstrong formed the Citrus Task Force, an initiative to solicit feedback from citrus industry customers on their interactions with the District’s regulatory and funding programs and develop options to address concerns.
The District recognizes the key role the citrus industry plays in Florida’s history, identity and economy. The citrus industry contributes $9 billion per year to the state economy and employs nearly 46,000 Floridians.
“We believe there are opportunities to identify areas of improvement when it comes to our processes that will assist citrus industry customers without compromising our mission to protect the water resources,” Armstrong said. “We are hopeful some of the changes also will benefit other commodity groups.”
The initiative began in April 2018 when the task force conducted outreach with more than 45 stakeholders. Those stakeholders included government entities such as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), permittees, associations, consultants and industry leaders.
Then, the task force evaluated the feedback and developed options aimed at addressing those concerns. Most of the identified concerns affect more than 50 percent of the stakeholders that gave feedback.
An update on the progress of this initiative will be given at the District’s Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting this summer. For more information about the Citrus Task Force, contact Ross Morton at Ross.Morton@WaterMatters.org.