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Where’s the beef? Ron DeSantis slaughters funding for cattle research

Fair associations and agriculture trade shows also felt deep cuts.

The promised $750,000 for Florida’s Cattle Enhancement Board couldn’t be corralled. Gov. Ron DeSantis slaughtered the recurring appropriation as part of a record $1.66 billion budget veto.

The funding was earmarked for programs and research into expanded uses for beef and beef products. The idea was to strengthen Florida ranchers’ market position in the state and nationwide.

The House pushed this year to include the spending.

While lacking the profile of citrus, cattle ranching delivers a $100-billion economic impact to Florida each year, making Florida one of the leading states for raising American cows.

The Cattle Enhancement Board has strong ties to the University of Florida, likely meaning research spending would be spent through that institution. UF has Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extensions throughout the state of Florida.

The Cattle Enhancement Board, founded in 2016, includes 20 members. Since its inception, it has been focused on education and research.

The Governor also vetoed $98,850, this money nonrecurring, for the 2021 Miami International Agriculture, Horse and Cattle Show. So the beef industry was doubly burned.

DeSantis also nixed $200,000 for the new rodeo facility in Arcadia, potentially putting off other uses for cattle riding and roping.

Several county fair associations also felt the cut Monday. Other slashed funding projects include appropriations for Putnam County ($750,000), Bradford County ($500,000), Clay County ($500,000), Hernando County ($424,065), Northeast Florida ($250,000), South Florida ($250,000) and Martin County ($200,000).

DeSantis cut deep with vetoes this year as the state suffered significant shortfalls in revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Member projects throughout the state of Florida took a battering at a time when hopes of $4 billion in budget reserves carrying Florida through the crisis quickly dim.

For the moment, cattle ranchers will have to find something to do with cattle instead of scientific research.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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