Citrus, Florida’s signature crop, has always faced disastrous conditions from freezes to canker. But no disaster has been as devastating to citrus owners as citrus “greening.”

Citrus “greening”, also called huanglongbing or HLB, was detected in 2005 and has since wreaked havoc on the citrus industry in Florida, ruining citrus trees and hurting the state’s economy.

While there is a great deal of research and support going on to tackle the issue of citrus greening, there has not yet surfaced effective measures to stop this crisis. The only solution has been to destroy the trees and clear the groves, thus destroying the disease.

For many citrus owners, this is a less than desirable solution; however, there are options for the land after citrus growing has been abandoned.

For example, bio fuel farming has recently been suggested as an option for South Florida land as an alternative to growing more citrus and sugar cane, though this is in its beginning stages. Others are replanting with the Florida variety of peaches or more recently, macadamia nut trees. The main question that has to be posed is whether or not citrus land with continue to be classified as agricultural land or if it will be converted to non-agricultural uses. Many citrus growers fear that by destroying their citrus groves they will no longer have classified agricultural land and all the tax perks that go along with that classification. This is not the case.

In order to stick to classified agricultural land, citrus owners must contact an FDACS inspector, who examines the property, craft a destruction report and issue an Abandoned Grove Compliance Agreement. Citrus owners must then bring the compliance agreement to the county property appraiser to be issued a greenbelt tax rate for at least two years. Local property appraisers may have further conditions, so inquire with them before beginning the process of clearing the citrus groves.

It’s important to be aware of your options. Please contact us for further assistance on citrus land options or for any questions regarding financing your agricultural land.