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Bill Aimed At Helping Florida Citrus Growers Heads To US House Floor

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan's twitter

A bipartisan bill making it easier for farmers to replace trees affected by citrus greening is now heading to the U.S. House floor.

The goal of the bill is provide tax incentives to farmers who can’t afford to replace trees affected by citrus greening—a devastating plant disease that impacted Florida’s citrus industry.

“99 percent of the trees in Florida are diseased, and they’re looking to basically to get capital to replant these trees,” said Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL), during a House subcommittee of the Ways and Means committee. “Some farmers have the capability. Many of them don’t. They’re going to have to sell the farm. So, that’s their reality.”

Buchanan says his bill is needed because this disease puts more than 62,000 Florida jobs at risk.

“My bill would let farmers bring in investors to help underwrite replanting costs without losing the immediate deduction,” he added. “And, to ensure that farmers keep working their land, my bill requires them to maintain at least 50 percent interest in their groves in order to use this expanded deduction.”

Buchanan says his bill also has the support of Florida’s Congressional Delegation, including fellow bill co-sponsor Patrick Murphy (D-FL).

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.