Farmers push back after Charlie Crist proposes land purchase as Governor
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Charlie Crist
'To my knowledge, farmland in the EAA is not for sale.'

Florida’s farmers are rebuking a plan floated by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist to buy up farmland should he become Florida’s next Governor.

Crist threw out the proposal during the lone Democratic Primary debate ahead of the Aug. 23 election, as part of a discussion about Florida’s environment and ecosystem.

“We are the state most susceptible to rising sea levels,” Crist said. “I tried, when I was Governor the first time, to buy as much sugar land as I could to restore the natural flow south of the water through the Everglades, through Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay. That’s what we need to do.

“And that’s what I’ll reignite when I get back to be Governor again. The only reason we couldn’t finish it was the Great Recession, so the funds cut back. But instead, I used them to save teachers’ jobs. It’s having common sense and doing the right thing.”

But Gene Adams, Chair of the Florida Ag Coalition, pushed back against that proposal, arguing lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) are not for sale.

“Every acre of farmland lost from active production takes safe, sustainable and locally grown food out of the mouths of millions of American families. To my knowledge, farmland in the EAA is not for sale, and Florida farmers plan to continue growing the food crops, including fresh fruits and vegetables that up to 180 million Americans depend on every year,” Adams said.

“While Congressman Crist was stuck in Washington gridlock in 2017, Florida farmers worked with a bipartisan group of Florida legislators to protect farmland while moving Everglades restoration forward. Fortunately, the land needed for restoration projects in the EAA has already been purchased and construction has already started for the majority of those projects.”

As state lawmakers discussed water policy issues in 2017, several farmers and landowners sent a letter to then-Senate President Joe Negron stating that those who own EAA land south of Lake Okeechobee “are not willing sellers of our property to the government.”

“Over the last two decades, farmers south of Lake Okeechobee have lost more than 120,000 acres of productive farmland to the government and the undersigned landowners are not willing sellers of any more,” the letter continued.

“Instead, EAA farmers will continue to advocate for plans that will show real results for Florida’s environment.”

That letter was signed by U.S. Sugar, Florida Crystals Corporation, Hundley Farms, Roth Farms, Wedgworth Farms and several other farmers and landowners. Adams’ statement appears to show that position is unchanged since 2017.

Crist made the remarks Thursday while debating with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The two are leading contenders to secure the Democratic nomination, though Crist has topped Fried in both polling and fundraising numbers.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Bend

    July 23, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Make land free again
    It is shameful farms are now they owe people food because they know how to write..
    Make land free again

  • Tom

    July 23, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Foot in mouth, chameleon loser hypocrite.
    Watch him weasel his way on this.
    Total loser.

    • Joe Corsin

      July 24, 2022 at 3:38 pm

      ^ Meth head

  • Yeah

    July 23, 2022 at 9:29 am

    I guess you all have new competition or the Phoenix is a branch of this site

  • tom palmer

    July 23, 2022 at 9:32 am

    There will be no deals unless there are willing sellers. Charlie knows that. Perhaps he was just trying to make a point or simply doing what DeSantis does is to play to the crowd.

    • Sandy Logan

      July 24, 2022 at 10:46 am

      The farmers around Lake Apopka were not willing sellers. Their land was taken and blamed for the sewage that damaged more of the lake than thousands of acres of farms. Hope the EAA does better. We don’t need starving people because Christ is a hand puppet.

      • tom palmer

        July 24, 2022 at 4:22 pm

        Dead pelicans anyone? The land in the Zellwood muck farms around Lake Apopka was a cesspool. Farmers were paid for their land; the US Constitution requires this as it should.

  • Joe Corsin

    July 23, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Vote RED for pollution
    Vote RED for abominable grifting
    Vote RED for low wages
    Vote RED for unaffordable housing
    Vote RED for capitalist schemes that wreck the economy
    Vote RED for government doing nothing but talking… blaming the Dems for everything

    • Antonio

      July 27, 2022 at 8:42 pm

      You just described California.

    • Tim Gardner

      July 29, 2022 at 9:25 pm

      Charlie Crist was a horrible Gov and we should pray he never gets close to being the Gov again.

  • Rose Political

    July 24, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Colossal error by Crist. In an effort to pander to the “climate changers”, he seems to forget, or not know, about the Netherlands. Let’s see if Fried can capitalize on this. Can she successfully use this to make a difference – I’m confident Cate can.

    • tom palmer

      July 24, 2022 at 4:26 pm

      You need more than sticking your finger in the dike to fix the Everglades, but the US. Constitution and Florida law is pretty clear about how the government goes about acquiring private property. Crist was just playing to the crowd, similar to what DeSantis does.

  • Tom

    July 25, 2022 at 6:44 am

    Chameleon loser strikes again, speaking two sides from mouth. Loser, hypocrite.

    • Joe Corsin

      July 25, 2022 at 10:22 am

      ^ Biggest loser in human history

Comments are closed.


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