July 11, 2019
Each year, Florida Farm Bureau recognizes legislators for their support of Florida agriculture and Farm Bureau’s legislative agenda.
This year Farm Bureau’s State Board of Directors has voted to select Sen. George Gainer and Rep. James Grant as the organization’s Legislators of the Year. The board has also named 16 other legislative leaders as Champions for Agriculture.
Farm Bureau’s Legislators of the Year and Champions for Agriculture provided leadership on key bills and issues that will significantly improve and strengthen our agricultural community in Florida.
Legislators of the Year
In October 2018, Hurricane Michael ripped through Sen. George Gainer’s district and devastated much of the agricultural production in the area. Sen. Gainer tirelessly worked to ensure that those communities and businesses affected by the storm were not forgotten. He sponsored bills to provide relief to the area and, as Chair of the Finance and Tax Committee, played a key role in successfully passing sales tax relief on materials used to rebuild agricultural infrastructure.
Sen. Gainer also served as Vice-Chair of the Agriculture Committee and used his position to highlight the need for disaster assistance for the agricultural and rural communities in his district.
“Sen. Gainer and his staff were relentless in supporting agricultural recovery from Hurricane Michael,” said Florida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick. “The farmers and ranchers in that community were hit hard, and he provided a strong voice working on their behalf.”
Since pregnant pigs were put into the Florida Constitution in 2002, reform of the constitutional initiative process has been important to Florida Farm Bureau members.
During the 2019 legislative session, Rep James Grant played a key role in putting additional accountability into the system that allows citizens to propose amendments to the Florida constitution. Rep. Grant sponsored a bill that changes how petitions are gathered and provides transparency for voters.
Rep. Grant also directly worked to support funding for UF/IFAS programs and research.
“Rep. Grant’s good work to fix some major problems with how Florida amends its constitution is a welcome change,” said Hoblick. “Agriculture could be negatively impacted by constitutional initiatives and we are grateful that Rep. Grant was successful in making the process more deliberative.”
Champions for Agriculture
Florida Farm Bureau is also honoring 18 Champions for Agriculture – lawmakers who go above and beyond to support and promote legislation that positively impacts agriculture. Farm Bureau named six Senators and 12 Representatives as Champions for Agriculture in 2019.
“Florida Farm Bureau appreciates the commitment of our state lawmakers to Florida’s agricultural producers and we sincerely thank them for their role in supporting Florida Farm Bureau and our state’s farmers and ranchers during the 2019 legislative session,” said Hoblick.
Florida Farm Bureau’s 2019 Champions for Agriculture are:
Sen. Ben Albritton
Sen. George Gainer
Sen. Debbie Mayfield
Sen. Bill Montford
Sen. Wilton Simpson
Sen. Kelli Stargel
Rep. Loranne Ausley
Rep. Chuck Brannan
Rep. Chuck Clemons
Rep. Brad Drake
Rep. James Grant
Rep. Blaise Ingoglia
Rep. Lawrence McClure
Rep. Bobby Payne
Rep. Holly Raschein
Rep. Paul Renner
Rep. Rick Roth
Rep. Josie Tomkow