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Florida Ag Commissioner asks for $75m to protect farm land from development

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will ask Florida lawmakers for $75 million next year to fund a depleted program that helps shield agricultural land from development.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he will propose spending $21 million to help struggling citrus growers reeling after Hurricane Irma.

“They have one crop a year. With all the wind and the rain, it was devastating,” Scott said during an annual Associated Press pre-session event in the Capitol.

The citrus industry, which suffered an estimated $761 million in losses from the September storm, is forecast to see a 21 percent drop in oranges produced this season compared to the 2016-2017 season, with grapefruit production expected to drop 37 percent.

Scott, who plans to release a proposed state budget in the coming weeks, said the proposal will include $10 million for citrus research, $4 million for marketing and $7 million for post-storm relief.

Scott, Putnam, legislative leaders and gubernatorial candidates appeared at the annual Associated Press event at the Capitol, as they prepare for the 2018 legislative session and next year's elections. The 60-day session starts Jan. 9.

Putnam, who is running for governor, said he will ask lawmakers to include $75 million in the 2018-2019 budget for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.

“It is something that is important to not only protecting working ag lands in the state, but also protecting the landscapes, the viewscapes, the wildlife habitat and connecting corridors,” Putnam said.

Source: news4jax.com

Publication date: 11/3/2017


 


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