By Clint Thompson
Key industry priorities for the Florida Farm Bureau were highlighted during last week’s Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference, hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Food and Resource Economics Department.
Courtney Larkin, director of state legislative affairs with Florida Farm Bureau, discussed a new initiative aimed at promoting Florida grown products. It would be included in Senate Bill 1164/HB 1279.
“Any state agency or entity, such as a Florida state university has to purchase food grown or produced in a state when available, practical and feasible. That has to be rolled out by the year 2025. This also includes any third party that a university may contract with, too. They would have to use a Florida product,” Larkin said during her presentation. “When it talks about available, practical and feasible, if they are not available, practical or feasible, they have to report that back to the legislature with why. There has to be a real tried and true reason why they’re not using Fresh from Florida products.
“We’re excited to see that. We really want to promote a domestic food supply, especially our own state-grown products.”
Also included in the bill would be the formation of a TEAM (tax exempt agricultural materials) card. Florida Senator Jay Collins and Representative Danny Alvarez have led work on the respective bills.
The senate bill was referred to Agriculture; Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government; Fiscal Policy on March 2.