If you haven’t heard the good news, the farm bill received its final seal of approval courtesy of President Obama last week. It’s about time!

Its new-found status of completion is cause to celebrate.

Agribusinesses in Southwest Florida are very pleased, especially citrus growers.

Citrus growers waited nervously and impatiently for Obama to sign off on the proposed $125 million worth of emergency funds (dispersed over the next five years) dedicated to extensive citrus greening (HLB) research. Fortunately, Obama signed in favor.

These research funds are expected to not only benefit Florida, but also California, Texas, Arizona, and all citrus growing operations in the United States.

Over the past five years, Florida citrus growers have put approximately $70 million into citrus greening studies. Yet, despite heavy research initiatives, HLB continues to infect and destruct, damaging groves, killing off trees, and limiting harvests. Clearly, the solutions are slim. Hopefully, with these emergency funds in place, real solutions will surface.

Separate from the $125 million allocated for citrus greening research, the farm bill also assigns $275 million over the next five years to “specialty crop” research and initiatives (up from $230 million in the 2008 farm bill). Since citrus is categorized as a “speciality crop,” this presents additional good news (and funds!) for the industry.

Other nationwide farm bill programs are also expected to benefit Florida’s agribusinesses. New agriculture and food research initiatives, organic agriculture research and education efforts, and beginning farmers and ranchers programs are bound to aid Florida in fortifying its agriculture.

Need help developing your citrus operation? Call on us here Bankers South – a Florida-based ag lending company – for farmland financing support. Our AgAmerica Lending Program boasts unparalleled farm loan products perfect for re-planting citrus trees, expanding your groves, etc. Please contact us for further information about our AgAmerica farm loans and citrus loans!




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