Florida’s citrus industry is in dire need of a turnaround, so the passage of the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act is the best of news. It’s the latest in a line of news items that seem as if the Florida citrus industry may be on the brink of a welcome improvement.
Good Citrus News
The good news kicked off with the Citrus Grove Renovation/Re-establishment Support Program at the end of August. Much like the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, the Renovation/Re-establishment Support Program is meant to encourage citrus growers to renovate their citrus groves. The program will cost-share the expenses of replanting and upgrading citrus groves. Next came the news in early September that a study using the bactericide oxytetracycline showed the substance was successful at stopping citrus greening in infected trees.
Now, it’s the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act of 2016, and Florida citrus growers have another incentive to replant their citrus groves with healthy trees. It’s one more piece of good news in the fight against the citrus disease Huanglongbing, HLB, or citrus greening.
The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee passed The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act in mid-September. The legislation offers aid to Florida’s citrus growers as it gives another incentive to replant citrus groves affected by citrus greening. As of a recent study, at least 80 percent of all of Florida’s citrus trees were infected with citrus greening.
The act itself changes the IRS code and acts as a tax incentive. It will allow growers to expense the costs of planting new citrus trees immediately, rather than the typical standard depreciation of 14 years. The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act will be in effect for 10 years.
Reception of the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act
The passage of the act was roundly supported in all corners of agriculture and Florida government. Commissioner of Ag, Adam Putnam, issued a press release expressing thanks to all who were involved in the creation and passage of the act. Florida Citrus Mutual executive vice president/CEO Mike Sparks communicated how the act would help in replanting the estimated 20 million new citrus trees that will need to be installed in the next 10 years to keep the citrus industry in Florida viable. Hopefully, the news will be the latest in a string of good news yet to come.