Fried Pleas for Help from Fellow Floridians

Clint Thompson Exports/Imports, Florida

Nikki Fried
Florida Agriculture Commissioner

By Clint Thompson

Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried is hoping to enlist Florida residents in the ongoing fight against rising imports.

Fried called on Florida residents this week to buy locally grown produce after revealing devastating data that outlines the negative impact Mexican imports are having on her state’s vegetable and specialty crop farmers.

She highlighted eye-popping statistics from a research study that highlights how the rise in imports is costing her farmers.

Florida lost market shares in bell peppers, round tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries from 2000 to 2020. A $23.3 billion gap exists between Mexican Ag exports compared to Florida’s total Ag value.

The problem only amplified in the last five years. The value of all commodities imported from Mexico grew by 66.95% between 2015 and 2020, which equates to between $22.9 billion and $34.2 billion.

“We are asking the federal government, we need help. This is an unfair trade practice. It is hurting our economic tier in the state of Florida and across the entire country,” Fried said. “The time to act was yesterday. But we all must work together to make sure our Florida farmers have opportunities to succeed for generations to come.”

Fried not only placed that responsibility for help on the shoulders of the federal government but with Florida residents as well.

“I will also ask fellow Floridians, part of this is on us. We control the purse strings here in the state of Florida. When you go to the food store, look for Fresh from Florida, Florida Grown labels on all of your produce. Go to your local farmer’s market. Demand that these products be served in our restaurants and our food stores,” Fried said.

Click here for full report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.