Aug 1 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Thom Tillis and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) recently introduced the Protecting America’s Orchardists and Nursery Tree Growers Act, which would reform the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) by lowering the mortality threshold, and allowing farmers to use TAP funding to replant alternative breeds of trees or bushes. TAP currently does not allow growers to replace destroyed bushes or trees with breed varieties that are more resilient to disease or environmental changes, which may even provide higher yields. 

“This legislation will provide critical assistance to North Carolina’s farmers in the wake of natural disasters, infestations, and disease by enhancing coverage, eligibility, and financial assistance under the Department of Agriculture’s Tree Assistance Program,” said Senator Tillis. “Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, and I am proud to support our hard-working farmers by co-sponsoring this critical legislation.”

The legislation is endorsed by North Carolina Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau, Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, USApple, North American Blueberry Council, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Cherry Marketing Institute and Michigan Agri-Business Association.

Section by section summary available here.

Bill text may be found here