Agriculture is Florida’s oldest and second-largest industry. It employs nearly 2 million Floridians and has a $120-billion economic impact annually. Agriculture has shaped much of Florida’s past and will also define our state’s future. Florida enjoys a vibrant agriculture community, but it is also a community that faces some real challenges, such as citrus greening, preserving working farmland, and marketing products grown by our farmers in the face of unfair international competition. Real solutions and leadership are needed to keep Florida’s agriculture industry strong and preserve our heritage for future generations.

The fight against citrus greening is one of the most important facing the industry. Continued funding for research is needed to combat and reverse the effects of this terrible disease.

Though Florida currently has over 9 million acres of farmland, continued population growth will make it harder to preserve our working farmland. Solutions such as the Rural and Family Lands Program are a great way to save our farmland and ensure it can continued to be used for agricultural production.

Florida farmers are hurt by unfair international competition, specifically produce dumping that violates free trade rules and drives down the price of Florida-grown products. While programs such as Fresh from Florida help market our farmers and ranchers’ products across the country and across the world, our Agriculture Commissioner must continue to take a strong stand against unfair trade practices by other nations.

Worth Reading: (4-17-18): Grimsley says Florida farmers suffering due to drug trade-supported Mexican imports