Florida homeowners receive $42M years after the state destroyed their healthy citrus trees to stop canker

It took 16 years, but about 18,000 homeowners in Central Florida will collectively receive $42 million from the state after it destroyed 60,000 of their healthy citrus trees as part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) efforts to eradicate citrus canker. Between 2002 and 2006, FDACS destroyed uninfected trees that were within 1,900 feet of a tree infected with the condition. It’s not harmful to humans, but can cause the leaves and fruit of citrus trees to drop prematurely and create lesions that spread bacteria to other trees, the Messenger-Inquirer reports. As compensation, the state originally offered Orange County homeowners $100 Walmart gift cards for their first destroyed tree and $55 for each additional tree. As part of the order issued in state court in Orlando last month, the homeowners will receive about $700 per healthy tree destroyed. Meanwhile, citrus diseases continue to rage in the Sunshine State, which is on track to produce its smallest orange crop in 77 years. —Tina Vasquez