Rick Scott, Wilton Simpson meet with Florida farmers as Congress readies farm bill

Simpson_Scott 9.11.23
'Florida’s agriculture industry is known around the world and the success of our state wouldn’t be possible without our growers and ranchers.'

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott recently stopped by Clewiston to discuss issues farmers face as Congress tries to finalize a new farm bill.

While Scott heard farmers’ concerns, he also told agriculture community members they need to voice their priorities to as many members of Congress as possible.

“You need to use every communications tool at your disposal to let them know that Florida agriculture helps feed our nation,” Scott said.

Scott sat with U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, Florida Farm Bureau President Jeb Smith, and Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association Chairman Mike Joyner. The panel met with local vegetable, sugar cane, sod and rice farmers, as well as cattle ranchers.

“We have some of the best soil, the best sunshine, and the best rainfall in the world,” Simpson said during the Friday meeting. “We are here to celebrate that.”

Florida’s congressional delegation members have been highlighting the state’s interests as the farm bill takes shape. The twice-a-decade bill is a significant piece of legislation that features major policy debates over subsidies, crop insurance, food programs for those in need and more.

“Not to sound too dramatic, but I feel like Florida really is either the top or one of the top three states that has the most at stake in this farm bill,” U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack said last month.

Cue Scott and Franklin joining with Simpson, who leads the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and works in agriculture himself. The meeting shows the measure is a top priority of the delegation, given its impact on domestic food production. “Agriculture is bipartisan,” Franklin said.

Simpson has said supporting the industry should be treated as a national security issue.

“Imagine today there being no food in the grocery store just for one week. And then you’d have chaos, right? Imagine two weeks, you’d have complete chaos,” Simpson said. “So not considering food a national security issue would be fooling ourselves.”

More than 400 representatives from the state’s agricultural community were reportedly on hand during the Friday meeting, organized by the Florida Agribusiness Council.

“To have all of these true leaders come down here, it says a lot about what our leaders in Tallahassee (and) Washington think about what us farmers do in South Florida,” said Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau President Keith Wedgworth.

Scott’s visit also came as he helped respond to Hurricane Idalia’s strike, which impacted agricultural interests in the Big Bend region.

“Florida’s agriculture industry is known around the world, and the success of our state wouldn’t be possible without our growers and ranchers,” Scott said.

“Unfortunately, things are tough for hardworking families in our state right now as prices keep rising and natural disasters cause mass losses of crops and livestock. I know Florida’s agricultural communities have been laser-focused on hurricane recovery following Hurricanes Ian and Idalia — and I’m fighting to make sure they get all the disaster relief they deserve.”

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].


  • My Take

    September 11, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    DeSSlimeus’s stooges are turning a high-performing liberal-arts college into a fascist madrassa.
    BIOL 202 God Made TWO Genders
    ENGL 399 Ayn Rand — Prophet of Profit
    HIST 400 The “Sunny Side” of Slavery

  • Sonja Fitch

    September 12, 2023 at 3:47 am

    “Immigrants” provide the labor!! So if there ain’t no money for farmers, Scott and Desantis avoid that Issue! Vote for the Common Good!

  • LOU murray

    September 12, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    DeSantis immigration bill have hurt Florida farmers. Many of the small farmers are going out of business because of that. .you ether import the people or you import their food. We are now importing more of their food.

  • FloridaPatriot

    September 12, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    And yet the governor and his GOP lackeys are passing laws that will cause food to rot on the vine.

  • Richard Russell

    September 13, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Are you two still s…ing at the tit of Mosaic? Ricky, you got plenty of money, so why are you? Wilton, don’t know much about you, maybe you are insecure and need the moola. But get this straight you are screwing every Floridian south of SR60 by letting Mosaic run roughshod over us down the heart of “Bone Valley”. Don’t act dumb, you know exactly what you have done and will likely continue to do for your benefactor! Every Floridian should vote you out in any subsequent election for anything, even dog catcher!

Comments are closed.


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