Commissioner Wilton Simpson Highlights Legislative Achievements for Florida Agriculture

Dan CooperLegislative, Natural Resources, Specialty Crops


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumwer Services (FDACS) Commissioner Wilton Simpson applauded the Florida legislature for their work during the 2024 legislative session to provide significant victories for Florida agriculture, its related industries, and consumers.

“When you look at agriculture’s $180 billion impact to the state of Florida, it’s clear that we rely upon agriculture as a major economic driver. Equally as important, agriculture is foundational to our personal, state, and national security and freedom,” said Simpson. “This session we made protecting agriculture and serving Florida consumers our top priority, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the diligent efforts of the Florida legislature, under the leadership of Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Florida House Speaker Paul Renner. Our department’s legislative package this year was robust, and I am grateful for Senator Jay Collins and Representative Danny Alvarez for taking on such bold proposals that not only support and promote our critical agricultural producers, but also protect Floridians and promote consumer confidence.”

Simpson championed the following achievements from the 2024 legislative session that protect agriculture and serve Florida consumers:

  • Legislation that requires Florida school districts to approve 4-H and FFA related activities as an excused absence from school, which will foster the continued growth of the next generation of Florida’s farmers. (SB 1084)
  • Legislation that cracks down on theft and trespassing related to saw palmetto berries. The legislation provides tools for law enforcement to enable the state to safeguard against the illegal harvesting of this commercially exploited plant. (SB 1084)
  • Legislation protecting Florida’s food and fiber production by providing enhanced criminal penalties for trespassing on commercial agricultural property with the intent to commit a crime. (SB 1084)
  • Secured $40 million to support Florida’s citrus industry through infrastructure, research, and expansion of propagation and replanting efforts. (GAA)

Secured $100 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. This program focuses on maintaining the agricultural land base in Florida through the acquisition of permanent agricultural land conservation easements. (GAA, Line 1516)

  • Secured $100 million each fiscal year, appropriated in SB 1638, to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor, including the acquisition of conservation easements under the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.
  • Secured $32 million, appropriated in SB 1638, for land management within in the Florida Forest Service.
  • Secured $13.3 million for repairs and maintenance and roads and bridges maintenance on state forest lands, for facility replacements, and for reforestation efforts on public and private lands. (GAA)
  • Secured $15.6 million for equipment and operational increases for the Florida Forest Service, ensuring that our firefighters have the equipment needed to complete their jobs safely and efficiently. (GAA).

Source: FDACS