Some Florida citrus growers hedging bets with bamboo
Some Florida citrus growers are hedging their bets amid an uncertain forecast by growing a new crop — bamboo.
Byron and Cynthia Matteson planted 35 acres of bamboo at their Frostproof farm last week. The fatal bacterial disease citrus greening has led to more than a 70 percent reduction in Florida’s annual citrus crop while nearly tripling the cost of production.
Bamboo, on the other hand, has a sunny forecast. It also takes five to 10 years to make a profit on a new citrus grove. But bamboo can turn a profit in just three.
The Ledger reports the couple owns Mattco Enterprises LLC in Lake Wales. A farm manager for Lykes farm also came to watch the planting, adding they’ve been looking at bamboo for two years as they consider an alternative to citrus.