WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced legislation to help Florida’s citrus industry rebound from the effects of a deadly citrus disease threatening to wipe out the state’s nearly $11 billion citrus industry.

Citrus greening has been blamed for killing crops across the country including more than 130,000 acres in Florida since 2005.  Nelson’s legislation would encourage growers to replant groves lost to greening by allowing them to immediately deduct the full cost of planting new trees, instead of over a 14-year period as required under the current law.

“If we don’t start replanting some of the trees we’ve already lost, we may not have a citrus industry in Florida much longer,” said Nelson. “This bill will encourage growers to plant the new trees we need by allowing them deduct the full cost immediately, instead of slowly over time.”

While Florida’s citrus industry accounts for about 65 percent of the total citrus production in the U.S., its annual crop production has continued to decline over the last four years, with this year’s crop estimated to be the smallest in nearly half a century.

Nelson’s bill would encourage growers to start the process of planting some of the nearly 20 million new trees experts say will be needed to get Florida’s citrus production back to the level it had reached nearly 10 years ago, before the citrus greening disease began to ravage the state.  It will be a companion to a House bill introduced recently by some members of the Florida congressional delegation.

Text of Nelson’s legislation is available here.