(Oct. 22, 11:41 a.m.) Florida citrus leaders are forming an advisory council to look to the future of the state’s citrus industry.

The Florida Citrus Commission, which oversees the Florida Department of Citrus department, created its Long-Range Planning Advisory Council on Oct. 20 to develop strategy to help guide the future of the two organizations.

The council’s goal is to identify progressive marketing, research and regulatory strategies that can help insure the sustainability of the Florida citrus industry, according to a news release.

"We have assembled a strong group of forward-thinking leaders to identify where we want our industry to be in five to 10 years and to create strategic recommendations that will enable us to reach our future goals," said Benny Albritton Jr., the commission’s chairman and leader of a grove caretaking company, in a news release.

The 10-member council plans to study industry challenges such as citrus diseases, increasing production costs and increased imports competition. In the release, Albritton said the council’s members will develop recommendations to increase the department’s and commission’s effectiveness.

The council, scheduled to have its first meeting Nov. 6 in Sebring, Fla., consists of a variety of industry representatives, including Lindsay Raley, of Raley Groves and president and chairman of the board of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association, Dundee, Fla., and Dan Richey, chief executive officer of Riverfront Groves LLC, Vero Beach, Fla.