Department Of Ag Takes Action On Abandoned Groves

Last week, Florida Citrus Mutual reported that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) interpretation of Florida law (Section 193.461(7)) states that if a land owner has a valid Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP) compliance agreement in good standing then the property covered by the agreement is considered in agricultural use and
eligible for the agricultural land use classification. Furthermore, removing trees or killing trees in place to eliminate pest and disease reservoirs in abandoned groves is considered an agricultural practice under CHRP.

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Consequently, property owners who remove or kill abandoned citrus groves remain within the CHRP guidelines and are still eligible for greenbelt classification. An abandoned grove is defined by FDACS as:

  • No commercial fruit harvest during the last two seasons
  • No production care during the past two years, including weed control and  mowing
  • Grove use transferred to other use, but some live trees still present (pine trees or livestock)

Background: Officials created CHRP as a successor program to the Citrus Canker Eradication Program. CHRP is designed to allow the Florida Citrus Industry to develop and implement effective management strategies to remain productive in the face of citrus canker, citrus greening, and its vector – the Asian citrus psyllid. CHRP is a state/federal program with a state/federal budget appropriation.

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS), in partnership with the FDACS and the USDA, is the institution responsible for developing CHRP practices and procedures. The UF-IFAS citrus pest and disease control guide continues to recommend citrus tree removal as a viable method of disease management for both the citrus canker and citrus greening diseases.

How will FDACS implement the plan?

Phase I: Collect and verify data on the location and ownership of abandoned citrus grove properties with emphasis on areas in and around commercial citrus production.

Growers who know of and have specific concerns about abandoned grove properties in their general vicinity can report information to their local CHRP office. For a full list of offices visit http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/pec/pec-dist-map.html

Property owners who have abandoned groves may also contact the CHRP office nearest their grove location to obtain more information on abandoned grove abatement options and CHRP compliance qualifications for agricultural land classification eligibility for tax purposes.

Phase II: Beginning in April, representatives from the regional CHRP offices will contact abandoned grove property owners to determine the current and proposed future disposition of the land. The need to remove the abandoned citrus will be explained along with options for tree removal and the tax incentives if appropriate action is taken.

Questions or further information on this initiative should be directed to Richard Gaskalla, DPI Director, email address [email protected], telephone (352) 372-3505, Ext. 106.
 

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Recently we have been hearing a lot about the idea of using reproducible ag products as fuels for creating electricity.
There has been around a technology for using wood and other carbon based fuels to create and better use the natural occurring gases that can be derived from twice burning these materials. The common term is gasification, and it produces a combustible fuel.
With so many groves being abandoned, or destroyed for development, and the huge volume of trees that are just being rejected and burned in the many thousands of of these and producing groves, “it seems to me the a program that would call for the “chipping” of this now wasted resource, and transporting said chipped material to a locally central recycling energy producing facility could be a good thing.
We also could be utilizing the now wasted material that fills our land fills needlessly that results through the trimming of trees along our highways and power lines.
Where ever we go around the state there exists development and often there is tree and brush removal involved. It is generally cut up and trucked away to be burned, why not haul this material to a local wood recycling facility the can use this material in the gasification process, thus reducing greatly the noxious gasses that are presently being classified as green house gas.
We do not have to recreate the wheel here the materials and equipment is already in use around the world in 3rd world nations.

Think about!

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Recently we have been hearing a lot about the idea of using reproducible ag products as fuels for creating electricity.
There has been around a technology for using wood and other carbon based fuels to create and better use the natural occurring gases that can be derived from twice burning these materials. The common term is gasification, and it produces a combustible fuel.
With so many groves being abandoned, or destroyed for development, and the huge volume of trees that are just being rejected and burned in the many thousands of of these and producing groves, “it seems to me the a program that would call for the “chipping” of this now wasted resource, and transporting said chipped material to a locally central recycling energy producing facility could be a good thing.
We also could be utilizing the now wasted material that fills our land fills needlessly that results through the trimming of trees along our highways and power lines.
Where ever we go around the state there exists development and often there is tree and brush removal involved. It is generally cut up and trucked away to be burned, why not haul this material to a local wood recycling facility the can use this material in the gasification process, thus reducing greatly the noxious gasses that are presently being classified as green house gas.
We do not have to recreate the wheel here the materials and equipment is already in use around the world in 3rd world nations.

Think about!