Buchanan, Orange Growers Discuss New Citrus Aid
MYAKKA CITY, Fla – Congressman Vern Buchanan today met with a group of Florida citrus growers at Sorrells Citrus in Myakka City to discuss the benefits of his new law to help the state’s citrus industry recover from crop disease and Hurricane Irma.
During the meeting, growers talked about the need for relief and the specific benefits of Buchanan’s law.
Larry Black, general manager of Peace River Packing Company, who will be using the new tax credit, said that the new assistance is a “big win for our industry. It emphasizes the need to replant. We haven’t been. We don’t have any young trees to replace what we lost, which is why the tax relief is so important to have – it helps everybody.”
Steve Sorrells, president of Sorrells Citrus, said that “the industry is up against the wall. Trees have to be reset and this tax relief will help.”
Buchanan’s Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, which was included in the recently-signed tax cut bill, will provide immediate aid to help farmers replace damaged trees, allowing a 100 percent deduction in the first year instead of depreciating the cost over 14 years.
The recent hurricane and deadly bacterial disease known as citrus greening have combined to cause billions of dollars in damages to the state’s iconic orange groves and citrus industry. Pointing to the latest forecasts, Florida Citrus Mutual has also warned that as many as 20,000 of the state’s 62,000 citrus related jobs are at risk.
Buchanan’s bill (H.R. 112) was included in Section 13207 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law days after the federal Agriculture Department forecast the worst orange crop in 73 years.
Under previous law, growers were allowed an immediate deduction for the cost of replanting diseased trees, but the farmer had to bear the full cost. As a result of Buchanan’s bill becoming law, struggling farmers will be able to use this deduction even if they bring in investors to raise capital for replanting costs, as long as the grower continues to own a major stake in the grove.