State Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson was in Southwest Florida Wednesday – attending the Citrus Expo and meeting with business leaders. He’s also meeting with members of the state’s legislative delegation to lobby for changes to federal Farm Bill.
Key provisions of the most recent Farm Bill, passed in 2002 are up for renewal next year. Commissioner Bronson says there are requests to extend the farm bill as it is with some minor changes. Speaking at luncheon with Chamber of Southwest Florida, Bronson said the agriculture community would be better served by making some significant changes to the legislation.
I think it still goes pretty heavy to the program crops. I would like to see, since specialty crops are now 55 percent of the total farm cash receipts, that speciality crops, not in subsidy payments but the ability to use money to help promote those subsidy crops around the world so we can sell them around the world would help tremendously.
Program crops are soybeans, wheat, cotton, corn, wheat and the like. 95 percent of crops grown in Florida are specialty crops – like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes.
The Federal Farm Bill is is up for renewal next year – and Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner says he’d like to see it undergo some major revisions. Charles Bronson say right now the bill is skewed toward providing subsidies to farmers in the Midwest who grow wheat, soybeans, corn and the like. But Bronson says that formula doesn’t reflect the state of agriculture today.
We are actually making more money now off the specialty crops like oranges and tomatoes and strawberries and the things that we have here in Florida.
Commissioner Bronson also says he’d like to a provision in the farm bill that would provide quick relief to growers following natural disasters like hurricanes. He says right now the road to recovery relief is rife with bureaucratic hurdles.
Thursday, 24 August 2006 01:00
Ag Commissioner Visits SWFLWritten by WGCU Newsroom