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FCM Applauds Rubio for Co-Sponsoring Citrus Bill

Friday, July 22nd, 2016 by tamara

LAKELAND, FL (July 22, 2016) – Florida Citrus Mutual on Friday applauded U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for becoming a co-sponsor of a measure that would provide growers with an incentive to plant more trees and bolster the troubled Florida citrus industry.

Rubio joined original sponsor U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in championing The Emergency Citrus Disease Response Actwhich allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus instead of the standard 14 year depreciation period under the current IRS rules. The tweak to the IRS code is designed to increase slumping production. It would be available for 10 years.

Rubio, along with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, toured a grove outside of Auburndale, FL Thursday to get an update on the state of the industry. He said he will push lard for the IRS legislation.

Michael W. Sparks, Executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, thanked Rubio and other members of the Florida Congressional delegation for their steadfast support of the industry.

“By some estimates our industry needs to put more than 20 million trees in the ground over the next 10 years to support existing infrastructure and get our production back to where it was before HLB,” said. “We offer a sincere thank you to Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and Rep. Vern Buchanan as well as other members of the Florida Congressional delegation for their support of this important bill. It is truly a bipartisan effort and reflects the fact that Florida’s elected officials understand the citrus’ vital economic role.”

Florida growers are now battling citrus greening, or HLB, a bacterial disease vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. It attacks the vascular system of a tree and can kill it within two years. Citrus greening is endemic to Florida and has reduced production more than 50 percent over the past decade.
In the House, Rep. Vern Buchanan is the primary sponsor of the bill. Co-sponsors from Florida include Reps. Bilirakis, Brown, Castor, Clawson, Crenshaw, Curbelo, DeSantis, Deutch, Diaz-Balart, Frankel, Graham, Grayson, Hastings, Jolly, Mica, Miller, Murphy, Posey, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, Wasserman-Schultz, Wilson, Webster and Yoho. Rep. Olson from Texas and Reps. Gosar, Schweikert and Franks from Arizona are also co-sponsors of the bill.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $10.7 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 62,000 people, and covering about 500,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. Follow FCM on Twitter @FLCITRUSMUTUAL

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