More citrus farmers could be in for tax breaks when they replace trees damaged by citrus greening. That’s under a bill that passed in the U.S. House Wednesday.
Growers who bear the full cost of removing and replanting the trees themselves are already granted a tax deduction. The federal measure, Sponsored by Florida Republican Representative Vern Buchanan, would extend the break to farmers using investor money for the process. North Florida Democratic Representative Gwen Graham spoke in support of the bill.
“Today our citrus farmers and orange industry are experiencing a crisis unparalleled to anything we’ve seen in the last century. Citrus greening, an invasive disease that ravages citrus plants, has steadily taken its toll on Florida citrus,” Graham says.
A similar bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is awaiting a hearing in the chamber’s finance committee. If no changes are made, forecasters are predicting greening will have a devastating impact on Florida’s citrus industry. A report from the Florida Citrus Commission Thursday, projects harvests will decrease by two-thirds in the next decade unless a greening breakthrough is made.