Florida Farm Bureau’s 2013 Annual Legislative Days were held this March. The activities started with a briefing dinner for Farm Bureau members on March 18 at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum including Governor Scott’s State of the State address.
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association, with the help of Sue Harrell, Morgan Boykin, Miranda Mayo, and Glenda McNary, dipped over 1,000 strawberries and served them to Farm Bureau guests and state legislators at the annual Farm Bureau Legislative Reception in Tallahassee on March 20.
A legislative reception, including a 4-H awareness auction, was held at the Tallahassee/Leon County Civic Center on March 19.
These events provide an opportunity for Farm Bureau members to discuss public policy issues with state lawmakers and executive department officials in an informal setting. Popular topics of discussion were:
- SB 1106 – Sen. Alan Hays, Senate Committees of Reference: Agriculture, Community Affairs, Rules
- HB 927 – Rep. Holly Rasche, in House Committees of Reference: Agriculture & Natural Resources, Civil Justice, State Affairs
This legislation seeks to prevent local governments from regulating agritourism activities on land that is classified agricultural and provide limited liability protection for injuries caused by inherent risks. These bills link agritourism activities specifically to bona fide agricultural operations and stipulate that signs warning the public of inherent risks must be visable.
- SB 948 – Sen. Denise Grimsley, Senate Committees of Reference: Environmental Preservation and Conservation
- HB 1063 – Rep. Travis Hutson, House Committees of Reference: Agriculture & Natural Resources, Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations, State Affairs
This legislation seeks to balance the expanding role of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) in the regional water supply planning process. Specifically, these bills would allow FDACS to collaborate with federal agencies and universities to provide estimates of agricultural acreage and crop water use, putting agriculture on a level playing field with municipalities and utilities. Additionally, these bills require that water management districts consider data provided by FDACS when determining the needs of agricultural supply.
Participants were given the opportunity to enjoy local food and network with Florida agricultural producers in honor of National Ag Day.
National Ag Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agrilculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corportaions, universities, government agencies and counteless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.
In related news, the tenth annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Florida Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc., invites Florida agricultural producers and other volunteers to read its newest storybook, Florida’s Farm History, to elementary school children to help students understand agriculture. The book helps celebrate 500 years of Florida Agriculture History.