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 …


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 …


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 …

Citrus Industry Wants Costa for House Ag Committee Chair

Len Wilcox California Corner, Industry News Release, Legislative

California Citrus Mutual (CCM), Florida Citrus Mutual and Texas Citrus Mutual have voiced their support that California Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) be appointed as the new chair of the House Agriculture Committee. A CCM press release stated that Costa understands the industry’s issues, such as pest and disease, trade, water and immigration. Notably, Costa was instrumental in securing federal funding …

Florida Governor Leaves Citrus Funds Intact

Ernie Neff Legislative

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 …

Bill Aims to Prohibit Citrus Imports From China

Ernie Neff Legislative, 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 …

Budget for Florida Includes Citrus Funding

Ernie Neff Legislative

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 …


Fried Addresses Citrus Issues

Ernie Neff Legislative

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 …

orange juice

Senate Wants Orange Juice to Flow Again

Daniel Cooper Industry News Release, Legislative, 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 …


Growers and Representatives Meet

Ernie Neff Agriculture, Legislative

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 …


Homeowners Oppose Stay in Citrus Tree Battle

Daniel Cooper Diseases, Legislative

(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 …


House Passes Ag Immigration Reform

Len Wilcox California Corner, Immigration, Legislative

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 …