Update on Florida Ag Legislation and Budget Presented

Dan CooperFlorida, Legislative

Photo courtesy of Southwest Florida Water Management District

By Maegan Beatty

In mid-April, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hosted the 9th annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. The conference examines critical policy issues facing agribusiness leaders and provides economic insights. Participants heard from policymakers, key stakeholders and expert researchers on the farm bill, risk management, labor and more.


Jim Spratt, owner of Magnolia Strategies LLC and chairman of the Florida Ag Coalition, was one of the speakers at the conference. The Florida Ag Coalition comprises over two dozen associations and companies representing thousands of growers and ranchers across the state. The coalition is heavily involved in Florida legislation and was actively engaged in the 2024 legislative session.

During this year’s session, over 1,900 pieces of legislation were discussed in Tallahassee. Of these, only 325 passed. Spratt mentioned a few of the many bills that were passed in this year’s session. These include:

  • SB 1084/HB 1071 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) includes asignificant amount of agency cleanup for testing and renewal for pest control, limited landscape and other FDACS licenses; preempts electric vehicle charging station placements/requirements to the state; preempts the sale of cultivated meat within the state of Florida; and requires local schools to recognize 4H and FFA participation absences as excused.
  • SB 1492/HB 433 Employment Regulations preempts local governments from adopting their own heat illness/heat stress ordinances.
  • SB 1082/HB 1-51 Housing for Legally Verified Agricultural Workers allows for construction of ag workforce housing on lands classified as agriculture.

The Florida Senate dedicated much of its $117 billion budget to different areas of agriculture. FDACS saw the following investments:

  • $35 million for best management practices
  • $1.5 million for water supply planning
  • $20 million for Fresh from Florida programs
  • $3.4 million for the Mosquito Control Program

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection received:

  • $100 million for the Florida Forever Program
  • $55 million for the Springs Protection Program
  • $100 million for the C-51 Reservoir Project
  • $614 million for the Everglades Restoration Project

UF/IFAS received:

  • $4 million for the ongoing agriculture fertilizer rate study
  • $19 million for the Center for Artificial Intelligence
  • $500,000 for the Lake Watch Program

Spratt mentioned some key topics of importance for the future of Florida agriculture. These includes soil and water conservation districts, tangible personal property rights, new and emerging agriculture products, continued investment in the fertilizer rate study and an increased focus on protecting rural and family lands.

Maegan Beatty is an AgNet Media intern.