Tree Assistance Program Tweaked to Help Citrus Growers

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tree assistance programBy Michael W. Sparks

Florida Citrus Mutual, the citrus industry and our Congressional delegation continue to work with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on obtaining federal relief payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for citrus groves damaged by Hurricane Irma. Once specifics are unveiled, we will get them to you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I wanted to bring to your attention some increased dollars available to citrus growers as part of the USDA’s Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Congress boosted funding to TAP as part of the Irma relief package passed in February. The main tweak to TAP is that payment caps have been removed and growers are eligible to be partly reimbursed for losses on up to 1,000 acres per program year, double the previous acreage limit of 500 acres. FCM had been requesting these changes for quite some time, so this is great news.

Please see the USDA’s press release here:

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/news-releases/2018/_20180409_rel_0051

Look for the paragraph titled “Other USDA Disaster Assistance Programs.”

I advise you to contact your county Farm Service Agency office for more information. You can locate your county office at this link: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=fl&agency=fsa

Michael W. Sparks is executive vice president and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual.

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