Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 and Florida Agriculture

Daniel Cooperbusiness, COVID-19, financial, Florida


Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick held a town hall meeting on Thursday with the state’s agriculture community on pressing issues. Some of the topics of discussion included:

  • Ensuring agriculture and all related industries are essential at the federal, state and local levels.
  • Promoting the continued and efficient processing of H-2A worker visas.
  • Inter- and intra-state weight waivers for farm commodities.
  • Buybacks for Florida commodities (federal, school districts and grocery chains).
  • Risk Management Agency waivers and flexibility for producers.
  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) emergency rules and marketing efforts.
  • Food-supply chain worker-safety protocols.

Hoblick’s opening comments:

Fried’s opening comments:

Hoblick’s questions for Fried from participants:

Closing comments from Hoblick and Fried:

FDACS is working closely with the Florida Farm Bureau to provide crucial information to producers and coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure Florida’s agricultural industry is supported in keeping the state’s food supply strong.

Commissioner Fried recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting flexibility to help move Florida’s perishable crops quickly to food banks, school meal programs and other federal food purchase programs. Commissioner Fried also sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting that additional federal stimulus packages include support for ag, including direct USDA assistance for farmers.