On September 17th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligibility for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) had been expanded to include losses to Florida citrus growers from Citrus Greening. Permanent funding for the TAP program was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and is retroactive to Citrus Greening losses occurring on or after October 1, 2011. Applications for TAP claims for Citrus Greening losses from October 1, 2011 through 2014 must be filed by the latter of 90 days after the loss, or January 31, 2015. Claims for losses in fiscal year 2015 or thereafter must be filed within 90 days of the loss. USDA has developed special rules for determining “loss” to Citrus Greening which allow for cumulative recognition of loss over time to meet minimum loss thresholds, and which recognize that loss from disease may not occur at a precise moment in time. There are minimum and maximum loss limits, and adjusted gross income limitations to participation in the TAP program.
Growers who believe they may be eligible under this expansion of the TAP program are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to discuss eligibility, required documentation and to set an appointment to meet with an FSA representative. Many local citrus organizations also have information about the program. Attached to this e-Alert are documents from USDA giving background information on the program, as well as a list of responses to frequently asked questions. Overview_TAP_Citrus_Greening_091814 and TAP Citrus Greening FAQ 2014 (F0191969xA35F9).
Dean Mead’s Agribusiness Industry Team will continue to monitor this program as it is implemented in Florida, and will issue updates as appropriate. Visit our website at http://www.deanmead.com/industries/agribusiness/.