Florida Governor Leaves Citrus Funds Intact

Ernie NeffLegislative

Citrus industry priorities funded by the Florida Legislature were left intact when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) Executive Vice President/CEO Mike Sparks recently reported. “As anticipated, there was the need to reduce spending significantly through the use of the line-item veto due to diminished revenue to the state resulting from the COVID-19 response,” Sparks … Read More

Bill Aims to Prohibit Citrus Imports From China

Ernie NeffLegislative, Trade

Florida Congressman Greg Steube on June 11 introduced the U.S. Citrus Protection Act, legislation that would prohibit the importation of commercially produced fresh citrus fruit from China. “As farmers and ranchers in Florida and across the country are struggling to cope with the decreased demand for their products as a result of the economic shutdowns, more than ever we need to put … Read More

Budget for Florida Includes Citrus Funding

Ernie NeffLegislative

Matt Joyner with Florida Citrus Mutual recently listed citrus industry priorities going into the Florida legislative session, and outcomes of those priorities in the $93.2 billion budget adopted by the state’s Legislature. Joyner, director of governmental affairs for the grower organization, noted that Gov. Ron DeSantis has not yet approved the budget. “His primary focus is directing Florida’s response to … Read More

Fried Addresses Citrus Issues

Ernie NeffLegislative

citrus

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried delivered the keynote address at the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Lakeland on March 6. She also discussed citrus issues with Citrus Industry magazine editor Tacy Callies. Fried says the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which she directs, is working with the state Legislature on a variety of budget … Read More

Senate Wants Orange Juice to Flow Again

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release, Legislative, Orange Juice

orange juice

(NSF) — Travelers might again get a free cup of Florida’s homegrown beverage when they cross the state line, through funding tucked in the Senate’s proposed budget. But helping the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) bring back free orange juice could hinge on a bigger debate, as the operations of state welcome centers remain locked in a legislative battle about … Read More

Growers and Representatives Meet

Ernie NeffAgriculture, Legislative

agriculture

State representatives Byron Donalds and Bob Rommel met with citrus and vegetable growers at a Dec. 16 discussion in Immokalee about local agricultural issues. The event was hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. Donalds said he wants to be sure IFAS recommendations, on which best management practices … Read More

Homeowners Oppose Stay in Citrus Tree Battle

Daniel CooperDiseases, Legislative

budget

(NSF) — Attorneys for Lee County homeowners urged the Florida Supreme Court on Monday to reject the state’s request for a stay in a long-running legal battle about compensating residents for healthy citrus trees cut down amid an effort to halt the spread of citrus canker disease. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services last week asked the Supreme Court to put the … Read More

House Passes Ag Immigration Reform

Len WilcoxImmigration, Legislative

disaster

On Dec. 11, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR 5038) by a vote of 260-165. The bill reforms the process by which temporary foreign workers migrate to the United States to work in agriculture. The bill has support from members of both sides of the aisle as well as from farmworker and grower … Read More

Rubio Secures Funding for Citrus Greening

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, Industry News Release, Legislative

rubio

The Senate passed an appropriations minibus package that included critical funds for Florida secured by Senator Rubio (H.R 3055, Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2020). In his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Rubio secured major funds for Florida’s citrus industry:  $8.5 million … Read More

Congressman Yoho Introduces Ag Guest Worker Bill

Tacy CalliesLabor, Legislative

As labor continues to be a top-priority issue for producers nationwide, Congressman Ted Yoho is aiming to lessen worries of a labor shortage by introducing a new ag guest worker bill. He discussed this new bill in a recent exclusive interview with AgNet Media’s Abbey Taylor. According to Yoho, the bill shies away from immigration and focuses solely on ensuring … Read More

California Legislative Staff Updated on HLB Control Efforts

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Legislative

Capitol building

Recently, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) hosted a lunchtime briefing at the Capitol. The purpose was to update legislative staff on the status of HLB in California and the industry’s continued efforts to prevent the disease from spreading into commercial groves. The briefing included a panel discussion with CCM Director of Government Affairs Alyssa Houtby, California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention … Read More

Florida Senators Fight for Disaster Dollars

Abbey TaylorCitrus, hurricane, Legislative

scott

Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Citrus Belt in 2017. Federal disaster relief funding was approved in early 2018, but many Florida citrus growers have yet to receive those funds. Several industry leaders and groups have been advocating for growers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. Now, Florida senators are joining the fight. Senator Ben Albritton, chairman of the Florida Senate Agriculture … Read More

Fried Attends Lunch Meeting with Ag Leaders

Tacy CalliesLegislative, Regulation

citrus

At a lunch meeting in Tallahassee, Florida, with representatives of many of the state’s agricultural organizations, Florida Agriculture Commissioner-Elect Nikki Fried told the group she plans to be a “champion for this industry” in her new role. Several major issues facing Florida agriculture were discussed during the lunch meeting, which was the first meeting of its kind with Fried since … Read More

Political Event Falls Short on Facts

Abbey TaylorLegislative

A recent southeast Florida algae rally drew a small crowd. By Gary Cooper U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (R-Palm City) hosted a campaign event in Stuart on Sunday and visited other South Florida areas in recent days. He partnered with anti-farming group Bullsugar.org and featured activist Erin Brockovich to help push his recently introduced Stop Harmful Discharges Act in Congress. The … Read More

Set Up WHIP Appointment Now

Abbey Taylorhurricane, Industry News Release, Legislative, Weather

By Mike Sparks We wrapped up the fourth Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) meeting in Fort Pierce yesterday with a large crowd at the Agricultural Research Service facility. All told, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted almost 800 attendees during the week. If you didn’t attend one of the events, we have some … Read More

Five Questions for Republicans Running for Florida Agriculture Commissioner

Daniel CooperLegislative, Top

agriculture commissioner

By Gary Cooper, Founder and President of AgNet Media, Inc. The three Republican candidates for Florida Agriculture Commissioner presented their views to approximately 200 attendees at a recent Candidate Summit Luncheon near Orlando. Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate organized and hosted the event in conjunction with its  10th annual Lay of the Land Conference, which draws a strong agricultural following. … Read More

Conaway Introduces the Agriculture and Nutrition Act

Abbey TaylorFarm Bill, Industry News Release, Legislative

Three years, 114 hearings, six listening sessions and countless industry meetings have laid the groundwork for the 2018 farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee delivered what it calls a strong farm bill for producers, consumers and all of rural America. After introducing the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) during a teleconference, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway … Read More

Tree Assistance Program Tweaked to Help Citrus Growers

Tacy CalliesLegislative

crop forecast

By Michael W. Sparks Florida Citrus Mutual, the citrus industry and our Congressional delegation continue to work with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on obtaining federal relief payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for citrus groves damaged by Hurricane Irma. Once specifics are unveiled, we will get them to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, I wanted … Read More

Funding to Help Ag Producers Recover After Hurricanes

Daniel CooperCitrus, hurricane, Industry News Release, Legislative

hurricanes

2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program to Aid Recovery in Rural Communities U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion, as provided by Congress, to help America’s farmers and ranchers recover from hurricanes and wildfires. The funds are available as part of the new 2017 Wildfires … Read More

Growers Lose Lawsuit to Continue Ban on Argentinian Lemons

Tacy CalliesLegislative, lemons

By Brian German The ban on Argentinian lemons will not be reinstated after growers lost a lawsuit filed in May 2017, trying to keep the imports out of the United States. The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Citrus Science Council, along with five growers, claimed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ignored science and based its reasons to lift … Read More