Legislation Introduced in Hurricane Relief Effort

Jim Rogers hurricane, Legislative

Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Block Grant Assistance Act of 2023, a critical bill to ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can provide needed relief to agriculture producers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. This bill will provide the agriculture secretary needed authority to provide block grants to …

Federal Omnibus Deal Fails to Include Farm Labor Act

Jim Rogers Labor, Legislative

On Dec. 22, the U.S. Senate passed the omnibus appropriations bill. The $1.7 trillion measure would fund the federal government through the remainder of 2023. The measure now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote to avoid a government shutdown on the evening of Dec. 23. Much to the dismay of farm groups nationwide, the Senate Affordable …

Affordable and Secure Food Act Introduced in Senate

Jim Rogers Labor, Legislative

Update as of Dec. 22, 2022: The current 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill does not include the Affordable and Secure Food Act. Bill sponsors and farm groups had urged its inclusion.  “Congress has once again failed to deliver the reforms that the fresh produce industry and its agricultural allies have long fought for. International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) did its part …

Advocating for Citrus on Capitol Hill

Jim Rogers California Corner, Legislative

Several California Citrus Mutual (CCM) directors and staff members recently met with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials and members of Congress to discuss some of the industry’s biggest priorities. Those priorities include funding for HLB prevention activities and the upcoming 2023 farm bill. CCM directors Matt Fisher, Jared Plumlee, Keith Watkins, Zak Laffite and Julia Inestroza were accompanied on …

Brix Addressed in Proposed U.S. Legislation

Jim Rogers Legislative, Orange Juice

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida introduced the Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act. The legislation would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower the required Brix level of not-from-concentrate pasteurized orange juice from 10.5% to 10%.    U.S. Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Stephanie Murphy, Kat Cammack, Daniel Webster, Maria Elvira Salazar, Darren …

citrus crop

Florida Citrus Commission Changes Enacted

Jim Rogers Florida Citrus Commission, Legislative

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation that modifies the makeup of the Florida Citrus Commission. The legislation expanded the commission’s size, added new citrus districts and created new requirements for membership. The number of citrus districts in the state is expanded from three to six, and the commission membership is increased from nine to 11. Due to the expansion of …

Florida State Budget and OJ Action Reported

Jim Rogers Florida, Legislative, Orange Juice

In a recent Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) newsletter, the grower association told how the Florida state budget addresses citrus issues and reported FCM’s position on an orange juice petition.  STRONG SUPPORTThe 2022–23 Florida state budget signed June 2 by Gov. Ron DeSantis totaled $109.9 billion and included more than $37 million in support for the state’s citrus industry. Citrus support …

Citrus Industry Priorities Highlighted at GCGA Annual Meeting

Jim Rogers Events, Legislative

Citrus industry growers and allied members of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association (GCGA) gathered in Fort Myers last week for the association’s annual meeting. Matt Joyner, executive vice president/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, recapped Florida’s 2022 legislative session and touched on some other priorities during his address to the group. Joyner said the legislative session was a strong one for …

Nutrient Application Rates Bill Signed Into Law

Jim Rogers Legislative, Nutrition

Florida Citrus Mutual Executive Vice President/CEO Mathew Joyner announced that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 1000, the Nutrient Application Rates bill. Joyner called SB 1000 “a critical piece of legislation.” See the full text of the new law here. The law takes effect July 1. “Sponsored by Senator Ben Albritton and Representative Lawrence McClure, the bill had previously passed both …

citrus greening

Representatives Ask for HLB Pesticide Approval

Jim Rogers Legislative, Pesticides

U.S. Representatives Kat Cammack and Al Lawson led members of the Florida congressional delegation to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for expeditious approval of Vismax, a biochemical pesticide for HLB. A letter from the representatives asks the EPA to rapidly approve the use of Vismax in preventing HLB so the industry may access this product before the start …

Farm Bill to Focus on Climate Change and Sustainability

Jim Rogers Agriculture, Farm Bill, Legislative

The 2023 Farm Bill was one of the major themes of the recent Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference held at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka. While in the early stages, discussions are already underway for next year’s farm bill. The federal legislation will lay out agricultural policy for the following five years. The direction …

Florida Legislature Supports Citrus

Jim Rogers Florida, Florida Citrus Mutual, Legislative

Matt Joyner, Florida Citrus Mutual’s (FCM) new chief executive officer and executive vice president, recently reported that FCM helped achieve substantial citrus industry support in the recent Florida legislative session. Following are citrus-related items that Joyner highlighted in the recently passed state budget: $8 million for the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) to continue basic research into HLB ($3 …

Legislation Introduced for Growers Impacted by Freezes

Tacy Callies freeze, Legislative

U.S. Representatives Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.) introduced the Temperature Endorsement for Multi-Peril Policies (TEMP) Act to protect farmers impacted by crop-damaging freezes. Rep. Steube proposes this legislation for inclusion in the 2023 farm bill. “This winter, a freeze caused significant damages to Florida’s citrus, sugarcane, ornamental plants, and many fruits and vegetables. Currently, specialty-crop insurance policies are expensive, leaving farmers with limited options …

Legislative Session Positive for Florida Ag

Jim Rogers Agriculture, Florida, Legislative

The state legislative session was among the topics discussed at the March 21 Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference. The annual event was held at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka. More than 100 people attended the conference, either in-person or virtually. John Walt Boatright, director of national affairs …

Growers Discuss Priorities for 2023 Farm Bill

Jim Rogers Agriculture, Farm Bill, Legislative

The 2018 Farm Bill is set to expire in 2023, so preparations are underway to craft the behemoth legislation into law sometime next year. However, it is common for negotiations to extend into the following year. Whether the new farm bill is passed in 2023 or 2024, there’s a lot of work ahead. The farm bill was the focus of …

citrus

Legislators Want Grapefruit Decision Reversed

Ernie Neff Grapefruit, Legislative

Members of the Florida and Texas congressional delegations recently urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reverse its decision to administratively suspend juice content standards for imported grapefruit. The delegations also requested information regarding the circumstances of the suspension, which was allegedly made without a proper rulemaking process, and for which Congress was not notified. The request was led by …

Keep Food Local & Affordable Act Introduced

Ernie Neff Legislative

U.S. Representative Greg Steube of Florida recently introduced the Keep Food Local & Affordable Act to combat the recent rise in food prices due to historic labor shortages and inflation. This legislation would implement a temporary stay on the H-2A adverse effect wage rate (AEWR) for states struggling to find domestic workers. The H-2A program allows temporary foreign workers in …

Ag Labor Reform Hindered by Regional Differences

Tacy Callies Labor, Legislative

The issue of ag labor legislation reform will remain unresolved as long as southeastern growers and western growers don’t come to a compromise, says Bob Redding. Redding, who works for the Redding Firm and serves as a lobbyist for agricultural groups in Washington, D.C., believes compromise is the only way true reform will happen with such a contentious issue. “If …

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Legislative Efforts for Florida Citrus

Ernie Neff Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) recently reported its efforts and priorities for the next Florida legislative session. As in past years, much of FCM’s focus will be on funding programs (Citrus Research and Development Foundation, Citrus Research and Field Trial and New Varieties Development and Management Corp.) critical to solving HLB and the marketing efforts to continue movement of 100% premium …

Florida Citrus Funding of $32.6 Million

Ernie Neff Legislative

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 2 approved all $32.6 million worth of citrus-related funding in the state budget, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) Executive Vice President/CEO Mike Sparks reported. The budget had been set earlier by the state Legislature. Sparks detailed the citrus appropriations: Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), $3 million Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program, $5 …