The Florida Agriculture Promotion Campaign is the subject of the House and Senate’s latest tug-of-war.
The Senate is seeking $18 million for the campaign. The House, meanwhile, is offering zero.
Established in 1990 by the Legislature, the program provides unique marketing opportunities to an array of farmers in Florida.
“The vast majority of Florida’s 47,000 agricultural producers are small farmers,” notes the Florida Agriculture Promotion Campaign website. “As such, they do not have the resources to individually conduct promotional and advertising campaigns to help market their products.”
With a $50 membership, members can boast the signature “Fresh From Florida” logo on product labels, signage and social media.
Membership also provides producers with domestic and international relationships and access into industry meetings and functions. Only members of the campaign are permitted to us the Fresh From Florida logo, regardless of product origin.
“The logo associates the member’s products with Florida agriculture’s worldwide image of excellence,” the website adds.
While budget negotiations are young, differences in funding for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) — navigated by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Committee — are many.
The Senate’s proposed FDACS budget is nearly 25% larger than the House’s version. In all, there remains a more than $402 million gap between the offers.
One key issue is the replacement of four aging helicopters and an airplane. The Senate is seeking $26.5 million to replace the aging aircraft. The House, though, is proposing only $5.1 million.
The chambers are also split on land acquisition. Senators are asking for $300 million for land protection easements. It’s an issue, though, not contemplated in the House budget.
Notably, Senate President Wilton Simpson is likely expected to helm the department next and replace Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Fried — Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat — is campaigning to oust Gov. Ron DeSantis as a gubernatorial contender. Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Simpson is a favorite to take the position.