U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has introduced legislation to allow tree fruit, vine, and nut growers to qualify for a tax depreciation benefit included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Congress approved the benefit, a special allowance for depreciation, as part of ARRA to encourage businesses including farms to make capital investments to help spur economic growth.

Under the provision, property “placed in service” in 2009 is eligible for a 50 percent bonus depreciation.

However, crops including fruit and nut producing trees and vines were excluded because the crops are not considered “placed in service” until they produce a commercially-viable yield.

This legislation would make these crops eligible by changing the “placed in service” date to when the crop is planted.

“Tree fruit, vine, and nut growers play a crucial part in California’s agricultural economy, which is struggling through this tough economic climate,” Sen. Boxer said. “Extending this tax incentive makes sense to encourage producers to invest in their businesses and help our economy grow.”

The legislation is supported by California Citrus Mutual, the California Association of Wine Grape Growers, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, the Agriculture Council of California, and the California Farm Bureau Federation.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is a cosponsor of the bill.