This past November (2015), U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan (R-16) proposed a bill that would provide Florida citrus growers with more incentive to plant citrus trees. The legislation— if passed— will potentially bolster our industry, which is in dire need of it in light of citrus greening (or HLB).

The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act— or H.R. 3957— would call for a tax break, allowing growers to immediately expense the cost of new citrus tree plantings (instead of the alternative, which is a 14-year depreciation timeline under current IRS guidelines). This proposed bill could not have come at a time when it’s more needed. The most recent USDA Citrus Orange Crop Estimate shows the orange crop at its lowest in the past decade (50 percent lower, to be exact, at 69 million boxes).

Michael W. Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a public statement, “By some estimates, our industry needs to put more than 20 million trees in the ground over the next 10 years to support existing infrastructure and get our production back to where it was before HLB.” Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of trees, which is undoubtedly why there has been swift support of the proposed legislation. Among its supporters includes the Florida Citrus Mutual and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

At a time when Florida citrus is in need of public support in the fight against citrus greening, this is not a silver bullet, but certainly could mean a lot of ammunition to add to the front lines of this battle. We here at Griffin Fertilizer Company will continue to watch this bill and all other legislation that affects the Florida agriculture industry.

Since 1959, we’ve been committed to helping our customers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize their crop yields. As a full service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection products distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture.