Citrus Recovery Act Seeks to Update Florida Citrus Commission

Josh McGill Florida, Florida Citrus Commission, Regulation

It is set to be a busy legislative session for agricultural interests in Florida. One of the bills making its way through the process is SB 1002, the Citrus Recovery Act. Sen. Danny Burgess (R-District 20) introduced the bill to amend the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC). The FCC is the governing body of the Florida Department of Citrus.

Citrus Recovery Act

The Citrus Recovery Act would make the FCC larger and would revise the geographic coverage that each commissioner represents. The current statute calls for the review of citrus districts every five years to determine if redistricting is necessary to maintain “substantially equal volumes of citrus production” in the districts.

“With the continued consolidation of the industry and urban growth trends over the past decade, it’s time to redistrict to maintain equal representation of the industry growing regions on the commission,” Burgess says.

A few highlights of the Citrus Recovery Act include:

  • Increases the membership of the FCC from nine members to eleven
  • Increases the number of citrus districts from three to six and revises the counties that
  • comprise each district
  • Requires certain entities to provide reports on citrus production research to the commission at specified intervals and upon request of the commission
  • Requires that new varieties of citrus fruit produced from research or studies funded by state funds be made exclusively available for licensing and purchase to certain Florida producers for a specified timeframe
  • Requires producers who receive such exclusivity to retain the exclusivity for a specified timeframe and provides pricing requirements for such arrangements

The language regarding new varieties is aimed at serving local growers who helped fund the breeding programs and potentially HLB-resistant selections.

“As greening is endemic in citrus-producing regions around the world, a tree that is resistant to greening would be sought after worldwide,” Burgess says. “We believe that a greening-resistant tree developed through research funded by the state of Florida and Florida growers should be controlled by the Florida citrus industry for the benefit of the Florida citrus industry first and foremost. Additionally, any royalties charged for a greening-resistant tree should be at a level that is affordable to the Florida grower, and any proceeds derived from such royalties should be available for the Florida citrus industry to reinvest for the benefit of the industry.”

Here’s what the new citrus districts look like in the legislation:

  • District One: Collier, Hendry and Lee counties
  • District Two: Charlotte and Desoto counties
  • District Three: Glades, Highlands and Okeechobee counties
  • District Four: Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties
  • District Five: Citrus, Hernando, Levy, Osceola, Pasco, Polk and Sumter counties
  • District Six: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia counties
Citrus Recovery Act
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