It was not that many years ago when huge sections of central Florida were completely covered in orange groves. Over the past twenty years, however, many of these groves were bulldozed in order to make room for residential land development, particularly luxury housing units and single family custom homes. With the housing bubble firmly burst and no sign of a real estate upswing in sight, however, orange groves are coming back.
Over the last decade, Florida’s central corridor — its real “Orange Country” — has consistently escaped from hurricanes, tornadoes, and even simple frost. While all this has been happening, severe weather events on both coasts have caused land values to plummet in some formerly desirable areas, while they have held steady in others. In other words, now is the time for out-of-state agribusiness to take a close look at Florida.
Unlike many other states, agribusiness subsidies in Florida have not even come up for discussion in many legislative sessions, let alone been threatened with repeal as is happening in some other areas. Plus, the major agribusiness firms that used to have a complete “choke hold” on the citrus industry in this state have largely moved on to other projects. This makes it possible for smaller firms to adapt and gain a foothold within a sector of the market that has traditionally been dominated by older and more established firms.