ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- A report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Florida's orange crop estimate has increased by 4 million boxes to 142 million boxes.
The report says the increase is due to an uptick in early and midseason orange varieties which grew by 4 million to 70 million.
Earlier crop estimates showed citrus production was down due to this year's freezing weather. But fruit experts say the freeze has complicated the crop estimate and that the industry won't have a final tally until June.
The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people, and covering about 560,000 acres. Most of Florida's oranges are used for juice.
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