Florida congressional delegation agriculture meeting postponed
Farmer Roy Petteway looks at the damage to his citrus grove from the effects of Hurricane Ian in Zolfo Springs. Image via AP.

Wilton Simpson will be among experts testifying to Florida's bipartisan delegation.

The Florida congressional delegation has postponed a special meeting about the state’s agricultural needs.

Previously, U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Co-Chairs of the delegation, announced the meeting, for Friday in Washington. However, after the House canceled much of its business for the day, delegation leaders elected to postpone the meeting indefinitely.

“Congressman Buchanan and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to holding this event in the near future,” reads a statement from the delegation leaders.

But the intention is for the meeting to take place at a future date. The bipartisan gathering of lawmakers want to meet as Congress develops a new farm bill, legislation typically passed every five years to address the specific needs of U.S. farms.

“Agriculture is critical to Florida, supporting an estimated 2.1 million jobs,” said Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican.

“The congressional delegation is committed to supporting this vital industry to our state’s economy. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and I look forward to welcoming our witnesses to Capitol Hill so the delegation can learn more about how we can ensure Florida’s agriculture sector continues to thrive.”

Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, stressed that keeping the state’s agriculture industry vibrant was an issue important to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“Florida agriculture is a vibrant source of jobs, cultural diversity and an economic driver in our state, and our delegation is firmly focused on providing the support this industry needs to flourish,” she said. “Congressman Buchanan and I welcome the opportunity to learn more about how our delegation can best ensure in the upcoming farm bill that this vital economic sector succeeds.”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson planned to travel to the U.S. Capitol to testify to members. An egg farmer himself, Simpson has recently promoted treating America’s food supply as a national security issue.

Other Florida leaders in the industry were also expected to testify including: Jeb Smith, president of the Florida Farm Bureau; Scott Angle, senior vice president of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; and Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida.

The House Agriculture Committee will develop the farm bill this year. Florida has two members on that committee: U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack, a Gainesville Republican, and Darren Soto, a Kissimmee Democrat.

The state’s delegation includes U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as 28 U.S. Representatives.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


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