Local citrus growers suffer major losses due to winter storm

2 years 3 months 1 week ago Friday, February 19 2021 Feb 19, 2021 February 19, 2021 9:44 PM February 19, 2021 in News - Local

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday requested a USDA Disaster Declaration for Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties over damaged citrus crops.

The losses are estimated at more than $300 million, some local growers are calling the season's crop a complete loss. 

READ ALSO:  Freezing temperatures damage local citrus crops

Vice President of Operations and Sales at Lone Star Citrus Growers in Mission T.J. Flowers said all of the grapefruits handing from the trees were frozen by Monday morning, when temperatures dipped into the 20s.

Flowers says the remaining fruit will become juice, but he says juicing the fruits makes less money. 

The investment made expecting fresh fruit— lost.

"We spray for bugs, we apply herbicide, insecticide, to grow a beautiful piece of fruit," Flowers said. "With that level of investment, you don't want to squeeze any more fruit than you have to. That's why a freeze of this magnitude is devastating ."

Now what's left to be determined is how severe the impact was on the trees. 

"Within the next couple of weeks when all the tree damage is fully realized, then we'll be able to make a determination as to how bad next year's crops [are] going to be affected."

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