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Citrus Greening Bill Heads For US House Vote

Greening is a disease that weakens citrus trees. The fruit becomes unusable. Photo by Amy Green / WMFE

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

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 impacting Florida’s citrus industry.

“They’re looking to basically to get capital to replant these trees,” said Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan of Florida. “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 adds 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,” said Buchanan. “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, a Democrat.

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