March 25, 2015
More than 500 farmers and ranchers visited Tallahassee earlier this week to meet state lawmakers and discuss public policy issues that affect Florida farmers and their livelihoods.
The annual Farm Bureau lobbying event began with a March 17 legislative dinner with more than 250 Farm Bureau members and elected officials in attendance at the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum.
The evening’s agenda included an overview of top 2015 priority bills to help prepare Farm Bureau members to meet with their legislators the next day. Guest speakers included Sen. Wilton Simpson and Sen. Kelli Stargel, House Majority Leader Rep. Dana Young, House State Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Matt Caldwell, Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Ben Albritton, Rep. Kevin Rader, Rep. Katie Edwards and Rep. Jake Raburn.
The next day included a full round of legislative meetings at the state capitol on priority issues such as tax relief, water policy, water and land conservation funding and budget support for UF/IFAS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
In honor of National Agriculture Day, both the House and Senate recognized March 18 as Florida Agriculture Day. Farm Bureau members celebrated the occasion with a public reception at the Capitol courtyard. More than 1,000people attended the Taste of Agriculture reception, which featured special guest speakers Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick.
Legislators, government officials and the public mingled and sampled locally grown Florida commodities from family farmers and learned about the importance of an economic sector that provides nearly two million jobs in the state.
Young farmers and ranchers from across Florida were also recognized for their outstanding efforts in feeding hungry Americans as part of the Harvest for All food donation. Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers committee donated 16.9 million pounds of food during the past year.