The State of Florida takes its citrus fruit seriously, therefore licensing and other requirements are in place for citrus dealers. A citrus dealer will need to file a Citrus Fruit Dealer’s Bond in order to be licensed. The purpose of this bond is to prevent damages from a citrus dealer breaking the Florida Citrus Code or any contracts.
Other citrus-related bonds are the Citrus Excise Assessments Bond and Citrus Inspection Fees Bond. These bonds are used as a financial guarantee to the Department of Agriculture for the payment of assessments (excise taxes) and fees.
The cost of a Citrus Dealer Bond starts at $10 a month or $100 a year with Jet. The price will be a small amount of the bond limit, which can be as little as $1,000 and up to $100,000. Additional factors such as credit scores and, in some cases, financial statements also affect the cost of the bond. See the chart below for examples of Jet’s rates for a preferred credit applicant.
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The Citrus Dealer Bond must be held by, you guessed it, citrus dealers who buy fruit straight from growers and/or for processors, gift fruit shippers, order takers, or packinghouses. Citrus dealers engaging in these activities are required to have a Citrus Fruit Dealer Bond, but the Citrus Fruit Dealer License Application also includes the following business functions: broker of inspected fresh fruit or processed products, fresh section or salad, fresh-squeezed juice, fundraiser, intermediate handler, roadside stand, sales agent, storage, or wholesaler.
The first step of your Citrus Fruit Dealer Bond purchase is applying for the bond. When you click the quote button, you will be taken to Jet’s easy, online application. The information necessary to receive a bond quote includes your social security number (used for a soft credit check). For bonds that have a limit that is under $15,000, that’s all that is needed for your application. You’ll find an automatically approved quote upon finishing the application that is ready for purchase.
For bonds with a limit of more than $15,000, your application will be submitted for review by a Jet underwriter. Additional information, such as business and/or personal financial statements, will be requested. Once a quote is ready, it’ll be emailed to you with a link to purchase.
After your payment has been processed, you will receive a confirmation email with a receipt and an electronic copy of your Citrus Dealer Bond.
Jet will prepare your Citrus Dealer Bond, Assessments Bond, or Inspection Fees Bond and mail it to you. You will need to submit the original copy of the bond along with your license application at the address below:
Citrus Fruit Dealer Bond and Inspection Fees Bond
Florida Department of Agriculture
170 Century Blvd
Bartow, FL 33830
Florida Department of Citrus
PO Box 9010
Bartow, FL 33831-9010
Jet will send renewal notices with plenty of time before the Citrus Bond’s July 31st expiration date through mail and email. If you are continuing your business as a citrus dealer, you will need to renew your bond. Your renewal notice will have a quote that is based on the information Jet has available; but since the bond has a variable limit, it’s very possible that your renewal quote is different from your previous year.
If the bond limit for the new shipping season is different, now is the time to update Jet. If your bond limit has increased and is over $15,000, you will need to submit financial information before your renewal can be processed. Once your new quote is ready, Jet will send you a new quote through mail and email.
After you have made payment for your bond renewal, Jet will mail you a brand new bond form when it’s required (like for the Citrus Fruit Dealer Bond) to file with the Department of Agriculture, or a continuation certificate, if permitted.
Citrus Bonds in Florida line up with the shipping season for citrus dealers: August 1st to July 31st. If you need to cancel your bond earlier, you can find the details below. Keep in mind that the Citrus Dealer Bond has a 30-day cancellation period and the Inspection Fees and Assessments Bonds have a 60-day cancellation period.
The Citrus Inspection Fees Bond must be held by processors and packinghouses that have the Division of Fruit and Vegetables Inspection Service or the USDA inspect fruit or processed products. The bond is used to guarantee the payment of inspection fees to be deposited into the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund. Fees must be paid by the 15th of each month, in compliance with Section 601.28 of the Florida Statutes.
A citrus dealer is someone who buys fruit directly from growers and/or for packinghouses, processors, or gift fruit shippers/order takers. Claims on the Citrus Dealer Bond come from damages caused by a citrus dealer who:
If a person suffers a loss on behalf of a citrus dealer who engaged in the actions listed above, they can seek compensation through the following procedure (Section 601.66 of the Florida Statutes).
A Citrus Assessments Fee Bond must be held by any grower, packinghouse, or processor that is obligated to pay assessments under Chapter 20-9 of the Florida Administrative Code. These assessments, otherwise known as excise taxes, are collected to finance research and marketing programs to advance the Florida citrus industry.
Failure to complete the payment of assessments will result in the following:
If you receive a claim on your Citrus Fruit Bond, notify Jet right away. Our team will look into the claim and any pertinent information provided. As mentioned above, the Department of Agriculture will have already investigated any complaints and determined that a violation has occurred and warrants a bond claim. This judgment is typically ample evidence in support of the Department’s claim.
Jet will make payment to the Department for damages or the amount of indebtedness. You will be responsible for paying Jet back, though, as that is the nature of surety. Failure to repay Jet can lead to license suspension or revocation for failure to comply with bonding requirements.