farm bill

Farm Bill Frameworks Favorable for Citrus

Daniel CooperFarm Bill, Legislative

Last week, Glenn “GT” Thompson, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, unveiled an outline of the bipartisan policies and priorities of the 2024 farm bill. The legislation, scheduled to be marked up by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture on May 23, holds the key to crucial resources for various agricultural commodities, including Florida’s citrus industry. On the …


Update on Florida Ag Legislation and Budget Presented

Daniel CooperFlorida, Legislative

By Maegan Beatty In mid-April, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hosted the 9th annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. The conference examines critical policy issues facing agribusiness leaders and provides economic insights. Participants heard from policymakers, key stakeholders and expert researchers on the farm …


Florida Legislators Support Agriculture

Daniel CooperAgriculture, Florida, Legislative

The 2024 Florida legislative session wrapped up last month, and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) believes it is very clear that state legislators support the agriculture industry. The association expressed appreciation for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson and the Florida Legislature for championing legislation that sought meaningful solutions to some of the challenges facing the industry. BENEFICIAL BILLS …


Georgia Growers Now Voting on Citrus Commission Funding

Daniel CooperGeorgia, Legislative

Through April 30, Georgia citrus producers are voting in a referendum to determine if they will fund the newly formed Georgia Citrus Commission. If growers pass the referendum, the state will begin collecting an assessment from citrus growers to carry out research, education and promotion projects coordinated by the commission. The commission consists of Georgia citrus growers.  At the request …


Senators Call for Freeze on H-2A Wage Rate

Daniel CooperLabor, Legislative

Sixteen U.S. senators recently introduced a bill to revert the H-2A program’s adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) to the December 2023 rate through the end of the 2025 growing season. Two of the senators who introduced the Supporting Farm Operations Act of 2024 are from citrus-producing states — Rick Scott of Florida and John Cornyn of Texas. A majority of …


Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine Prompts California Bill

Daniel CooperCalifornia Corner, Legislative, Pests

California Assembly member Eloise Reyes on Feb. 15 introduced a bill establishing a statewide goal to manage the introduction and spread of invasive species across California. Assembly Bill 2827 was introduced in response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) quarantine for the Redlands and Yucaipa areas of San Bernardino County due to impacts of the Oriental Fruit …


Florida Budget Includes $47 Million for Citrus

Daniel Cooperfinancial, Florida, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently reported that the Florida Legislature’s fiscal year 2024–25 budget includes $47 million to aid the state’s citrus industry. The funding for various programs is: Additionally, the Florida Legislature’s budget includes a $100 million annual appropriation for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which aims to protect working agricultural operations from development by establishing conservation easements. …

wage freeze

Legislators Seek H-2A Wage Freeze

Daniel Cooperfinancial, Labor, Legislative

Seventy-five U.S. House of Representatives members have asked House and Senate appropriations leaders for an H-2A visa guestworker wage freeze in an upcoming spending package. The text of the representatives’ letter to appropriations leaders follows: “We write with shared concerns regarding the annual adjustment to the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). Now in 2024, the H-2A labor rates paid by …


Efforts to Eliminate Multiple Ag Taxation in Florida

Daniel CooperAgriculture, Florida, Legislative

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson joined two state legislators Jan. 8 in announcing legislation to eliminate multiple taxation of agricultural production by annual local property taxes. Simpson, Sen. Jay Collins and Rep. Danny Alvarez announced the filing of a joint resolution, HJR 1251 and SJR 1560. The proposed constitutional amendment creates a total tax exemption of tangible personal property …


Ag Groups Want Changes to Emergency Relief Program

Daniel Cooperfinancial, hurricane, Legislative

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) was among more than 140 U.S. agriculture organizations that recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revise the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for 2022. In 2022, President Biden signed into law appropriations legislation providing $3.74 billion in ERP assistance to agricultural producers impacted by numerous natural disasters in 2022. FFVA and …

TEMP Act Aims to Provide Freeze Insurance for Growers

Josh McGillfreeze, Legislative

A U.S. senator and Congress members from Florida have introduced legislation to direct the Risk Management Agency to research and develop a crop insurance policy to cover losses caused by cold exposure and freezes. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Temperature Endorsement for Multi-Peril Policies (TEMP Act). Representatives Scott Franklin, Darren Soto, Cory Mills and Greg Steube introduced companion legislation in …

Disaster Aid Update From Florida Citrus Mutual

Josh McGillhurricane, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently announced that the Block Grant Assistance Act failed to receive the three-fifths of votes needed to pass in the U.S. Senate. The House passed the act in June. The bill would provide needed authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue block grants to growers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. FCM recognized …

Growers May Comment on Farm Bill at Listening Session

Josh McGillLegislative

UPDATE: Both the Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 listening sessions have been postponed. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson will host a farm bill listening session with U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack in attendance on Oct. 13. The session will allow Florida’s growers and ranchers to voice recommendations for the 2023 U.S. farm bill and related agricultural issues. The farm bill …

Federal Disaster Responsibility Act Introduced

Josh McGillhurricane, Legislative

U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack introduced the Federal Disaster Responsibility Act on Sept. 5. She said the bill, which fully funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), ensures that block grants are secured for Florida’s growers, among other things. The grants would make sure growers get the necessary tax breaks from hurricane losses they suffered. The bill …

Growers Get Update on Federal Relief Programs at Expo

Josh McGillCitrus Expo, Legislative

Matt Joyner, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM), reported that a group of Florida citrus growers spoke to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency representatives about federal relief programs at the recent Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo. The Expo was held this year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. “This year’s …

Land Grant Research Prioritization Act Introduced

Josh McGillLegislative, Research

U.S. senators from Florida and Georgia have introduced legislation authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make priority research grants available for land-grant universities. The grants would fund research and development of agricultural applications of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced mechanized harvester technologies, invasive species control and aquaculture. The senators who introduced the Land Grant Research Prioritization Act are Marco …

Georgia Citrus Development Act Introduced

Josh McGillGeorgia, Legislative

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is leading the charge to support Georgia’s farmers and strengthen the state’s growing citrus industry. He introduced the Georgia Citrus Development Act of 2023to ensure Georgia citrus growers are represented when guiding key decisions for the industry. Sen. Ossoff’s bill would add a new Georgia member to the Citrus Disease Subcommittee (CDS), a national policy council …

RAISE Act Would Improve Grower Disaster Relief

Josh McGillhurricane, Legislative

Several members of Congress from Florida recently introduced the Restore Agricultural Investment, Stability and Expansion (RAISE) Act of 2023. The act would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with standing authority to help American growers recover after natural disasters by issuing block grants. Supporters said the bill better positions the measure to reach President Joe Biden’s desk and become …

State Legislature Supports Florida Citrus

Josh McGillFlorida, Legislative

Landon Hoffman, director of government affairs for Florida Citrus Mutual, recently provided a recap of Florida legislative actions impacting the citrus industry: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget, which goes into effect on July 1. This year’s budget included more than $65 million to support Florida citrus, the highlight being more than $30 million for the CRAFT (Citrus …

Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act Introduced

Josh McGillLegislative

U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta of California and Kat Cammack of Florida have introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce income barriers that producers face in accessing agriculture disaster assistance. The Fair Access to Agriculture Disaster Programs Act aims to ensure that basic safety-net programs for producers are readily available to help full-time farmers recover following natural disasters. Current adjusted gross income (AGI) …