U.S. citrus production will steadily decline over the next ten years, according to new projections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA’s Feb. 18 “Agricultural Projections to 2025” report said U.S. citrus fruit production, which has been affected by citrus greening disease, is forecast to drop by an average of 1% per year in the next decade. The forecast for falling production is linked to continued declines of bearing acreage, notably in Florida, according to the report.
USDA projections call for total U.S. citrus output to drop from 18.4 billion pounds in 2015 to 14.3 billion pounds by 2025.
The projections indicate that non-citrus fruit production will rise from 36.9 billion pounds in 2015 to 39.9 billion pounds in 2025, a gain of 8% over 10 years. Tree nut production will rise at a faster clip, according to the USDA, with output pegged at 6.08 billion pounds in 2025, up 24% from 2015.
The agency said total U.S. production of fruit, nuts, and vegetables is projected to rise by 0.6% annually in the next decade.
While processing vegetable production is forecast to rise 0.8% annually over the next ten years, agency economists predict a modest 0.1% per year increase in fresh market vegetable production.
Fresh market vegetable production will barely increase from 41.3 billion pounds in 2015 to 41.7 billion pounds by 2025, according to the USDA.
The USDA did not provide fresh fruit and vegetable-specific export and import projections.
However, the agency gives trade projections of horticultural products, which includes fresh produce and also nuts, plant products, wine and processed fruits and vegetables.
The agency said U.S. horticultural product exports will increase from $34.1 billion in 2015 to $52 billion in 2025, a gain of 52%. Horticultural imports will grow even faster, according to the USDA, from $49.7 billion in 2015 to $80.2 billion in 2025, a gain of 61%.
The USDA said the overall agricultural trade surplus will fall from the 2014 record high of $43.1 billion to $9.5 billion in fiscal year 2016. By 2025, the U.S. agricultural trade surplus will decline to just short of $6 billion, according to the agency.
The projections assume a global economic growth rate of 3.1% annually, which the agency said is slightly below the long-term trend prior to the 2008 financial crisis.