Citrus growers answer frequently asked questions.

Who better to ask about California citrus than a citrus grower? If it’s not answered here, you can ask them yourself.

How do citrus growers respond to the ongoing drought?

California citrus growers are at the forefront of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their irrigation systems. Basically, they produce more but use less.

What is the California citrus industry doing to be more sustainable?

Being Citrus Strong means improving sustainability in areas of production ranging from water and pesticide use to orchard maintenance and even varietal research. To improve options for growing markets, growers invest millions of dollars in research looking for better ways to protect crops from pests, and to bring consumers new varieties.

How important is citrus to our economy?

3,900 growers, dominated by family farms, provide 22,000 jobs and create $2 billion in sales and $1.5 billion in other economic activity every year. The California industry is concentrated in the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast but covers 285,000 acres of production across the state.

Where does citrus stand on labor conditions?

From fields to packinghouses, our employees are a vital link between California groves and the global market. Because citrus enjoys a long production season, Citrus Strong means jobs for about 20,000 people for up to 10 months of the year.

In the field, business owners are diligent about creating safe, healthy working conditions, ensuring employees have access to drinking water and shade and that they pick fruit only in moderate temperatures. Because they are well-treated, employees stay with us for decades.  In fact, many of those who start in entry level positions become key management personnel.

I know growers have to use pesticides. Are these products safe?

Pest and disease control products undergo years of study before being used. In recent years, great improvements have been made to improve effectiveness on pests while limiting their reaction with people, wildlife and the environment. Use of beneficial insects to control pests has also increased.

What measures does the industry take to improve environmental stewardship?

We address environmental sustainability in many ways, including higher density groves with lower volume irrigation. For us, the challenge is ongoing. We understand that what’s good for the environment is also good for the industry and the state.

Is air quality a concern to California citrus growers?

Absolutely. Working together with the San Joaquin Valley Air District and other local business, we’ve reduced overall emissions in the Central Valley by 80% since 1980. It’s part of a bigger push by citrus growers throughout the state to mostly use water-based pest control products and to control road dust on farms and high traffic areas. In addition, packinghouses have increasingly moved to zero-emission electric vehicles in their facilities.

Citrus Grower