Hurricane Irma devastated Florida's citrus industry

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Florida citrus industry in peril

Premier Citrus President Tom Jerkins on the damage Hurricane Irma has done to the citrus industry in Florida.

Orange and grapefruit groves in Florida took a massive hit after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state, flooding major metropolitan areas and knocking out power for nearly 15 million people.

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Though weaker than forecasted, the storm ripped through Florida and destroyed about 40% of the fruit in groves across the state, Premier Citrus President Tom Jerkins told FOX Business’ Liz Claman on ‘Countdown to the Closing Bell.’

Premier Citrus alone received nearly 2 feet of rain, and almost a week after Irma made landfall, murky puddles of water remain in the grove surrounding the hundreds of pieces of fruit that the winds ripped off trees, Jerkins said.

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“I don’t think there was a single grove untouched in the state,” he said.

Prices for consumers are already on the rise, with frozen orange juice prices rising from $1.20 to $1.58 in the past week. The sunshine state is the largest producer of orange juice in the U.S., and the industry accounts for nearly 45,000 jobs and contributes over $8 billion to the state’s economy.  

The storm was the first major hurricane to hit Florida in years, and it engulfed nearly half of the state, damaging homes and displacing residents in its wake. 

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