By TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press Published 1:37 pm, Wednesday, September 17, 2014
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida's citrus growers whose groves are affected by a deadly citrus disease can recoup some of the cost of tree removal and replanting under a federal program announced Wednesday.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the Tree Assistance Program is now being extended to Florida growers affected by citrus greening.
The program allows farmers replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters. Under the program, Florida citrus growers will be eligible for up to 50 percent of the cost of the removal of diseased trees, 65 percent of the cost of replanting and labor, and 65 percent of the cost of seedlings. Losses must have occurred on or after Oct. 1, 2011.
Vilsack said it's important for Florida growers to remove the diseased trees and replant new trees, otherwise the industry will continue to suffer crop and job losses.