Last November, a bill was proposed by U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan (R-16) that would provide Florida citrus growers with more incentive to plant citrus trees. If passed, the legislation will potentially provide aid to 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 could mean a lot of ammunition to add to the front lines of this battle. As the nation’s premier land lender, we will continue to watch this bill and all other legislation that affects the Florida agriculture industry.

For those citrus growers who are looking to diversify their grove holdings, we present the AgAmerica Citrus Grove Conversion Program, a unique solution for farmers who are struggling with greening and thus don’t qualify for typical loans with ag lenders.

As Florida is our home base, we at AgAmerica Lending stand beside those in the citrus industry every step of the way. We take pride in being a farm lending solution for the country’s growers and producers through thick and thin with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.