Last week, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee reported to the full Senate S. 3568, a bill to create a Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund, with a recommendation that the bill be adopted. The Trust Fund would support research on diseases impacting the citrus industry. If enacted, this legislation would provide a dedicated source of funding for scientific research, technical assistance, and development activities to combat citrus diseases and pests, both domestic and invasive. The Trust Fund would be financed through tariff revenues on citrus and citrus products up to a total of $30 million per year. Under the bill, the Secretary of Agriculture would expend the funds based on the advice of a Citrus Advisory Board. The bill also includes provision related to cotton and wool tariffs and would be slated to expire after five years. It is unclear whether the legislation will be enacted before the end of the year. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Nelson of Florida, and Senators Feinstein and Boxer of California. It is also unclear how or if this will impact current funding for citrus disease. While the appropriations committees have eliminated earmarks or designated funding for specific crops or diseases, tariff legislation is not subject to the same agreement. Stay tuned for future updates.
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