FCM Applauds Tax Measure to Increase Tree Plantings

Randall Weiseman Citrus, Florida, Fruits, Industry News Release, Specialty Crops

From Florida Citrus Mutual:

Florida_Citrus_Mutual_logoLAKELAND, FL – Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) applauded a measure introduced by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-16) that would provide growers with an incentive to plant more trees and bolster the troubled Florida citrus industry.

H.R. 3957 – The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act – allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14-year depreciation period under the current IRS rules. The tweak to the IRS code is designed to increase slumping production. It would be available for 10 years.

Florida growers are now battling citrus greening, or HLB, a bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It attacks the vascular system of a tree and can kill it within two years. Citrus greening is endemic to Florida and has reduced production more than 50 percent over the past decade.

“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,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “Representative Buchanan’s bill will help eliminate some of the financial risk growers are weighing when they decide whether to replant. Growers want to farm, and this measure will tip the scales and get them back in the game, even in this tough environment.”

“We appreciate the hard work of Congressman Buchanan and all of the Florida congressional delegation who supports this bill. It truly is a bipartisan effort.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Bilirakis, Castor, Crenshaw, Curbelo, Diaz-Balart, Hastings, Jolly, Murphy, Rooney, Ross, Wasserman-Schultz and Yoho.