PCFB President’s Column (February 2013)

With the opening of the 2013 Legislative Session just around the corner, the Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) will be keeping a close eye on proposed bills that may have an effect on agriculture production as they are filed and move through committees.

As we travel to Tallahassee in March for Florida Farm Bureau Days, we will be discussing with lawmakers issues specific to Polk County producers, like the critical need for citrus greening research funding, and the need to ensure that any water quality and quantity regulations are based on sound science. We find each year that it is essential to be informed and engaged in this process, and I’m sure the 2013 session will be no different. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that may arise as this Legislative Session progresses. We will plan to hear from our Polk delegation on bills that pass and fail during the session at our annual Legislative Wrap-up Luncheon on Monday, June 3.

Each month, your board of directors has an opportunity to hear from the Polk County Sheriff’s Agricultural Crime Unit on ag-related theft, vandalism, and other trends through a report from Sgt. Martin at our board meetings. Through the effective communications channel we enjoy with the PCSO Ag Unit, stolen property has been returned and criminal schemes thwarted. On Thursday, April 11, our members will have the opportunity to speak directly with Sheriff Grady Judd as well as the Ag Unit deputies to share their concerns, ideas and to learn to better protect our agricultural businesses from criminal activity as we hold the annual Ag Deputy Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Polk County Farm Bureau office, 1715 U.S. Highway 17 South in Bartow. Contact Sharon Wheeler at (863) 533-0561, ext. 111, or email sharonw@pcfb.org to reserve your seat.

April 30 marks the 10th annual Florida Agriculture Literacy Day. Don’t miss your chance to get involved in promoting ag literacy this year. Schedule a reading of this year’s book to a local elementary school class and be a part of teaching our youth about agriculture. This year’s book commemorates the 500-year anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s discovery of Florida and the role agriculture has played in Florida’s history. We’ve made many historical contributions to be proud of, so get out and share them with our youth if you can. To register your reading visit, go to http://www.flagintheclassroom.com, call Carole McKenzie at (863) 533-0561, ext. 111, or email her at carolem@pcfb.org.

CREDIT

Column by Les Dunson, III

Les Dunson, III is president of the Polk County Farm Bureau.