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The USDA Says Citrus Fruits May Not Be as Plentiful in Grocery Stores in the Future

It's not all bad news! As a result of the decline, officials expect farmers to produce more vegetables and nuts than ever before.

Associate Editor
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Photography by: Eric Audras / Getty

If you're a big fan of fresh citrus, you should know that agricultural experts say that Americans farmers are producing less of these acidic fruits. According to a set of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's agricultural projections, which include data for the next decade, there will be a gradual decline in citrus fruit production—from 16 billion pounds in 2019 to 14.7 billion pounds in 2028. Why are farmers having trouble raising fresh citrus, you may ask? The USDA reports that a certain crop disease is going viral across farms scattered across the nation.

 

"The expected declines stem from the loss of bearing acreage in Florida and the continued spread of citrus greening, a citrus disease spread by insects for which no cure currently exists and which has the potential to threaten the entire citrus industry," the report says. "Declines in citrus production are projected to be offset by increases in non-citrus production."

 

Not all fruits are suffering. Overall, the USDA reports that farmers should see a boom in bounties for non-citrus fruit, vegetables, and tree nuts, in particular. American farmers are expected to raise and harvest more than 63 billion pounds of fruits and tree nuts by 2028, whereas production is currently upwards of 46 billion pounds this year alone. The total value of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts in the U.S. is expected to balloon from $53.9 billion this year to more than $68 billion by 2028 as well.

 

RELATED: Our Definitive Guide to Winter Citrus

 

Other everyday crops are also expected to experience growth periods in the future. The USDA says potatoes, which are already produced in staggering amounts (46 billion pounds harvested in the U.S. this year alone), will reach new production highs in 2028 when the average is expected to be 47.4 billion pounds.

 

What does this mean for your weekly grocery bill? Citrus fruits may experience a slight market price increase, the report says, but there's a chance that prices on everyday purchases like lemons and oranges will remain stagnant. Overall, prices for fresh ingredients like these are among the lowest seen in years. "Prices for most crops continue to remain low relative to the recent past as U.S. and global production responded to the earlier high prices," the report states. "Prices are expected to rise over the first half of the projection period and thereafter decline moderately."

 

Shoppers won't see too much of an impact on prices in the produce section—it's dairy and poultry they may have to worry about. The USDA reports that eggs and milk prices "are expected to increase over the upcoming decade" after seeing prices drop to record lows over the last year.