Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pass Bills to Aid Citrus Industry | Greening Disease Has Crippled Florida Growers; Anita Bryant Helped [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Pass Bills to Aid Citrus Industry | Greening Disease Has Crippled Florida Growers; Anita Bryant Helped [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

OUR VIEW

Anita Bryant helped

make "breakfast

without orange juice

is like a day without sun-shine"

one of advertising's

most memorable, ubiquitous

phrases in a television

campaign that commenced in

1969.

The pop-music recording

star and her wholesome

image remained popular that

year, even as a culture war in

America was raging. In addition

to becoming the public

face of the Florida Citrus

Commission, she sang the

national anthem at Super

Bowl III in Miami.

The advertising ditty, with

Bryant walking through an

orange grove in a white dress,

received air time for years.

But in 1977, sales of orange

juice from Florida suffered

due to a boycott over Bryant's

strong public opposition to

a measure approved by Dade

County voters; the initiative

was one of the early moves to

prohibit discrimination against

gays.

The Citrus Commission

eventually jettisoned Bryant,

overcoming the first of a series

of crises -- remember the

Mediterranean Fruit Fly out-break?

-- that have faced the

citrus industry.

But nothing -- not the

boycott, not the fly, not

competition with Brazil, not

even trends toward diets low

in sugar and carbohydrates --

has posed a greater threat to

Florida's citrus industry, which

includes not only growers but

processors such as Bradenton-based

Tropicana, than citrus

greening.

Indeed, the chief executive

of Florida Citrus Mutual said in

2014 that the industry is in "the

fight of all fights."

Scientists have linked virulent

bacteria to greening, which

affects the leaves, roots and fruit

of citrus. Fruit on infected trees

drops prematurely or is other-wise

ruined. No "cure" has been

developed, though researchers

hope that genetic engineering

or antimicrobial chemicals can

eradicate the disease.

Nearly 80 percent of the

state's crop has been devastated,

yet some growers

-- dedicated to agriculture

and optimistic that preventive

strategies are within reach --

have planted new trees. …

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