Commissioner Putnam Joins Coca-Cola Company to Announce $2 Billion Investment in New Orange Groves in Florida
Contact: Erin Gillespie – Press Secretary (850) 617-7737 ~ Erin.Gillespie@FreshFromFlorida.com
~Initiative Will Add 4,100 jobs, 25,000 Acres of Trees in Central Florida ~
Tallahassee, FL – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and The Coca-Cola Company announced today a $2 billion investment in Florida’s citrus industry.
Partnering with Cutrale Citrus Juices and Peace River Citrus Products, Coca-Cola’s investment will enable the growers to plant 25,000 acres of orange trees. Through this collaboration, Coca-Cola will procure all of the fruit produced by these trees over the next 20 years.
According to a study conducted by the Florida Department of Citrus, this initiative will create more than 4,100 jobs in Florida during a 25-year period. The total economic impact of Coca-Cola’s investment is estimated to be more than $10 billion over the next 25 years, or about $422 million each year.
“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment toward 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”
Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that poses an existential threat to the state’s $9 billion citrus industry. The disease is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid and causes trees to produce misshapen and bitter fruit. Infected trees generally die within three to five years. The disease is present in every citrus-producing county in Florida and in more than half of the state’s groves. The Florida Legislature recently appropriate $9.5 million to support research and the fight against citrus greening across the state.
“The Coca-Cola Company is proud to be part of this investment in Florida and its citrus industry. A thriving Florida citrus industry is critical to helping us build our Simply and Minute Maid juice brands,” said Steve Cahillane, President, Coca-Cola Americas. “Through viable partnerships and meaningful investment with Cutrale and Peace River, we together will foster sustainable, responsible growth in Florida. This is good news for the state’s citrus industry, our business and the communities we serve.”
Coca-Cola has played an active role in the Florida citrus industry since purchasing Minute Maid in 1960. Today, the company operates 26 facilities in Florida, employing 6,100. In partnership with Cutrale Citrus Juices, Coca-Cola purchases nearly a third of all Florida oranges grown by more than 400 local growers.
Over the past five years, Coca-Cola has invested more than $400 million in its operations throughout the state. Most recently, the Auburndale facility, which produces Simply juices, underwent a significant expansion. Adding a new production line and increased warehouse space, this multi-million dollar project created 129 new jobs, bringing the total number of facility employees to more than 500.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.