On May 31, the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA) State Committee approved pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome as a natural disaster, thereby allowing pistachios to be included in USDA’s Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
This means that eligible growers affected by the Bushy Top Syndrome could receive government assistance for the replacement of their affected trees. The program will be implemented in Fall of 2018 and will be retroactive to 2012.
Growers from all states affected by Bushy Top Syndrome will be allowed to participate. Like a number of other Federal programs, TAP participation has a number of restrictions, including participation limited to entities with adjusted gross income below the federal cap of $900,000; and cost reimbursement only for the removal and replanting costs of the affected trees, not for the trees themselves.
American Pistachio Growers (APG) has been diligently working on this issue for over a year attempting to qualify pistachios for this Federal program. We will keep you updated as more details are released. This is a significant victory for our industry and it was accomplished through the perseverance of APG and our ongoing federal lobbying effort.