On the heels of learning about a major orange juice purchase from USDA, growers and Florida citrus industry stakeholders have more good news to grow on. A much sought-after citrus planting program has come to fruition.
The Citrus Grove Renovation/Re-establishment Support Program, a $5.5 million initiative backed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), is designed to help growers re-establish citrus groves by providing 75% cost-share on eligible improvements in irrigation and nutrient management and 100% on engineering and design costs.
The program is available now and FDACS is accepting applications. A memo provided by FDACS’ Office of Agricultural Water Policy contains more details and application information.
In addition, growers are eligible for up to $250,000 on improvements to irrigation and nutrient management for replanting or re-establishing groves.
According to Mike Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, 20 million trees will need to be replanted to reach pre-HLB era production levels. During the recent Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference, Sparks mentioned the huge number necessary to sustain the state’s signature crop. At the time, he also said he was confident promising legislation would get passed in regard to planting incentives. His hunch was right. So the program’s announcement comes at a critical time.