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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Next citrus boss expected to focus on marketing Florida's orange juice

15

December

The Florida Citrus Commission is poised to choose its new executive director Friday from among three marketing executives.

In doing so, the commission will make clear that promoting Florida orange juice around the world should be the Department of Citrus' main focus. The agency has other duties, such as regulating the industry and conducting research, but those are second-tier, Commission Chairman Marty McKenna said.

"Its primary function is to market processed oranges," he said. "That's where the biggest amount of our growers pay our taxes, so that's the biggest responsibility that we have."

The Citrus Department is a state agency, but its operations are funded by the industry itself instead of general state revenue. Growers pay a tax on every box of harvested fruit; the current rate is 23 cents for oranges.

Former executive director Ken Keck resigned under pressure in August after state Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, ushered in legislation that changed the landscape of the commission and required Senate confirmation for the agency head.

The commission took that as an opportunity to ensure the new chief has a strong marketing background, McKenna said, and he is comfortable one of the finalists will be the right fit.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 8:20pm]

    

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