Florida ag commissioner optimistic about future of Florida produce
The 2012 presidential election did not go the way most Florida farmers would have preferred. The future of the Farm Bill is cloudy and workable immigration reform seems years away. Foreign competition is increasing and the Sunshine State faces challenges ranging from diseases like the citrus-destroying HLB to the ongoing tangle of water-quality restrictions imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But Adam Putnam, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, is optimistic about the future of Florida produce.
“We have an active, progressive group that are leaders for the country, and I’m continually reminded of that when I meet with our colleagues around the country,” Commissioner Putnam said. “The challenges that Florida has and a couple of our brothers and sisters like California, the rest of the country looks to us and says ‘We need to pay attention to what’s going on there because that’s going to be going on in our backyard in two years or five years.’
“Florida agriculture continues to be strong — 300 commodities around the state. Some are having the worst year ever, others are continuing to do very well and are benefiting from the fact that trade flows and demand are continuing to grow. Just to put this in the big picture perspective, in the long run there’s nobody in a better position from a standpoint of job security than people who are in the food business,” Commissioner Putnam said….How do you feed a planet of 9 billion people without extraordinary improvements in yield and productivity that have to be driven by science? At the root of everything we do, we have to continue to embrace science and have policy makers embrace science in order to feed a growing world. We have to have another green revolution to get there. Having policies that allow our country and state to reach our potential is going to be important to global stability because 9 billion hungry people is a recipe for global catastrophe.”
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