This year’s Florida state budget, established by the Legislature in early May, is the largest in history at nearly $115 billion. Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) reported that approximately $65 million was allocated to the citrus industry.
FCM itemized what was allocated to the citrus industry prior to Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the budget:
- Citrus research: $38 million
- Citrus budwood greenhouse: $1 million
- Marketing: $10 million
- Plant material propagation and budwood expansion: $2 million
- Citrus recovery program: $2 million
- New varieties research: $1.65 million
- Citrus Inspection Trust Fund: $4 million
- Citrus Health Response Program: $6.4 million
Additionally, the Department of Agriculture package bill passed on the House and Senate floors unanimously. This legislation authorizes the Tax Exempt Agricultural Materials (TEAM) card, among other provisions. The TEAM card is for sales tax-exempt purchases and will reduce red tape and modernize the current burdensome paper process.
An E-Verify bill was approved by DeSantis on May 10. It requires any employer with more than 25 employees to use the electronic (E-Verify) system to validate if an employee is lawfully present in the United States.
“We will see a large infusion of funding and support into our industry through the CRAFT (Citrus Research and Field Trial) Foundation as well as scientific research, both of which are vital to our future,” Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Steve Johnson said of the budget. “This funding will allow scientists and researchers to continue to develop even more diverse methods to combat greening and to test new varieties and hybrids … The commitment to CRAFT will help growers with much-needed funding to implement the sciences and technologies that do currently exist to bring back our crops and our groves.”
CRAFT this year included an Existing Tree Therapies Program in addition to its other HLB research funding for growers.
Source: Florida Citrus Mutual