A new Florida agriculture law is causing a stir because of its claim that farmers can only apply for the most efficient agricultural subsidies available to them.
It’s not a loophole, but it’s a violation of the law, said Florida agriculture commissioner Brad Sussman.
Sussmann said the law violates the Sunshine State’s strict transparency laws and is “unnecessary and unfair.”
“Florida is a great place to grow food.
We have a lot of great food producers, and we should be helping them grow the food that we need,” Sussmen said.
“I’m not going to let it get in the way of our job to make sure that the people who are producing our food have a chance to be successful and succeed in their endeavors.”
The law’s language is broad and can include any number of food subsidies.
For instance, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DFACS) could choose to approve the purchase of 100 percent of the corn it purchases.
That would be $4,200, but could also be the maximum allowed under the law.
Other types of subsidies include $150 for the first $250 of a farm’s expenses, $50 per ton of grain sold, $20 for a barrel of grain, and $100 per bushel of hay.
The law also includes $1 million for a single farm.
“It’s a lot to ask for,” Suckman said.
The new law is one of a handful of agricultural bills introduced in the 2018 legislative session.
It has been criticized for its impact on farmworkers, farmers and growers.
Suckmans office said it received dozens of emails and phone calls from people opposed to the bill, including some who were unaware it had been introduced.
“Farmworkers are just as vulnerable as anyone else,” said Debbie Boudreau, president of the Florida Farmworkers Union.
“They don’t know what’s in this bill.
We’re not going out of our way to protect them.”
In a statement, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a trade group representing about 10 million workers in the agricultural sector, said the bill is a “bailout for the wealthy few.”
“It is disappointing that the Farm Bureau, which represents the majority of our industry, would want to make a massive subsidy available to the rich at the expense of hardworking farmers,” said AFBF president Tom Pestilli.
“This legislation is a giveaway to big agribusiness and a huge tax on our farmworkers.”
The farm lobby is concerned about what could happen if the bill passes, especially if it is challenged in court.
“There’s not enough transparency around what’s going on here.
We need to know how much of this is really going to help the farmers, and if there are loopholes or other exemptions for some of the big agri companies,” said Dave Stearns, executive director of the North Carolina Pork Council.
“We don’t have enough information to know exactly what’s happening here.
I’m very concerned about the impact this will have on farmers.”