This Q&A is the third installment of four special features honoring the 2016 Florida Grower® magazine Citrus Achievement AwardSM winner Marty McKenna.
Q: The bipartisan Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act could be a big boost for planting. What is it and how did the industry get lawmakers to agree on something?
A: Sen. Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Nelson (D-FL) cosponsored this bill, which would allow citrus growers to immediately expense the cost of re-planting lost or damaged citrus trees instead of the standard 14-year depreciation period under current Internal Revenue Service rules. This should help incentivize grower to plant.
Our Florida citrus growers have a very strong relationship with our elected officials. This recently has been handy in securing state and federal dollars as the industry battles HLB. Through establishing a presence in Washington, DC, and Tallahassee over the decades, Florida Citrus Mutual has represented growers well in the political arena.
Q: What is the origin of the famous orange suit you have been spotted in at the Citrus Industry Annual Conference?
A: Fellow citrus grower Mark Wheeler came up with orange suit idea as a way raise funds for Florida Citrus Mutual’s federal political action committee.
At the time Mark was President of Mutual and I was Chairman of the Citrus Commission, so we worked together and used the orange suit as a fun way to raise money for the PAC. Mutual and FDOC working together creates great synergy for the entire industry.
Special thanks to Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.