New Tax Law Spells Sweet Relief for Citrus Growers
Finally, Florida citrus growers have something to cheer about thanks to a new tax law designed to help the state’s besieged industry bounce back from the one-two punch of HLB and Hurricane Irma.
Authored by state Congressman Vern Buchanan, the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act (included in the recently-signed tax cut bill) will provide immediate relief in helping farmers replace damaged trees, allowing a 100% deduction in the first year instead of depreciating the cost over 14 years.
Under previous tax law, growers were allowed an immediate deduction for the cost of replanting diseased trees, but the farmer had to bear the full cost.
“Immediate relief is crucial to help Florida orange growers rebuild and get back on their feet,” Buchanan stated. “I’m pleased that my bill to help farmers recover from Hurricane Irma and citrus greening has been signed into law.”
Meanwhile, Buchanan continues to work to provide disaster relief funding to orange growers impacted by Hurricane Irma. A disaster relief spending bill passed the House last month but stalled in the Senate. The funding measure is expected to be back on the agenda this month.
In response to the newly passed legislation, several produce industry advocates expressed their appreciation.
- “The tax provision will attract much needed new capital to the industry and the State of Florida at a very critical time for all citrus growers.” — Mike Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual
- “This provision in the tax legislation is absolutely critical to Florida’s citrus industry. It will provide much-needed incentives for growers to re-plant their groves.” — Mike Stuart, President of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
- “After such a devastating year for Florida citrus growers, this is welcome news in an ongoing fight to preserve such a vital industry to our great state.” — John Hoblick, President of the Florida Farm Bureau
- “I want to farm. That’s what my family does but I need some protection from the tremendous production risk posed by HLB. The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act will provide a significant incentive to put more trees in the ground by counterbalancing my upfront costs.” — Mark Wheeler, Manatee County citrus grower
- “Irma took a serious toll on our community and the entire citrus industry is grateful that Vern is helping to provide the relief we so desperately need.” — Dean Mixon of Mixon Fruit Farms