If you have been keeping up at all with the craziness coming out of Washington, it almost feels like common sense is a lost art.
This is especially true when it comes to financial governance. In this inflationary environment, financial prudence is more important than ever. Funding a task force to count how many times a frog bumps his butt crossing the road while some of the country’s most critical needs are left languishing in a sea of red tape is not financially prudent. While the example seems extreme, it is not far from reality.
An example of this is the current Farm Bill, which comes up for review every five years — and which expired on Sept. 30 due to the Washington boondoggle. This bill is not only crucial to the well-being of Florida agriculture, it affects the whole country. It contains much-needed funds that will help rehabilitate a citrus industry still reeling from HLB and the past two hurricanes.
The bill also means job creation and a positive economic impact for Florida. When compared with other industries, the economic impact from agriculture jobs, specifically the Florida citrus industry, has one of the highest returns on investment. Even though Florida citrus has shrunk to roughly 10 percent of what it once was, it still generates approximately $6.8 billion in annual revenue and supports 33,000 jobs.
With production advances like Tree Defender IPCs, CUPS, and tree injection therapies, there is an economic engine of hard-working Floridians ready to get going. However, the engine needs some gas.
Some of our political leaders like Rep. Scott Franklin are fighting hard through legislation like the Block Grant Assistance Act, which provides authority for the USDA to issue block grants to agriculture producers devastated by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
This is a good start, but it all hinges on reauthorization of the Farm Bill. It is crucial to the economic health of our state that you make your voice heard by all legislators representing us from Washington all the way down to the local level.
Call, email, or contact them through social media. Urge them to make Florida citrus — and all of the agriculture sectors — a high priority.
Bio: Scott Thompson is co-founder of Tree Defender, Radical Ag-Tech, and Care Planet Technologies. He is a Central Florida native with a background in agribusiness, food manufacturing, and bioscience.
This column is sponsored by Tree Defender, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.