I think it’s fair to say that most Florida growers and ranchers would be pleased with less red tape and fewer hoops to jump through for aid and assistance.
In fact, that’s part of what those in the industry are hoping a renewed Farm Bill would accomplish. Christian Spinosa talked about that with us for our feature on the recent Field to the Hill trip to Washington, D.C.
It looks like Florida lawmakers also picked up on that preference for less bureaucracy when the Florida Senate and House both recently passed a bill to establish the Florida Farm Tax Exempt Agricultural Materials (TEAM) Card to streamline the tax exemption process for growers.
Currently, growers must fill out and submit paperwork for each tax-exempt purchase they make. Growers may qualify for tax exemptions on agricultural equipment such as food, fertilizer, pesticides and property. The introduction of the card would help to remove barriers and make purchases easier.
That’s a huge win for those in the industry, but the bill’s reach doesn’t stop there.
It also requires public institutions to give first preference to Florida-grown food, a long overdue step toward making our growers a priority. State agencies, universities, colleges, and their respective food contractors would all be included under that umbrella.
Rep. Danny Alvarez, who introduced the bill, said, “It is beyond time Florida agriculture gets recognized for their importance and impact on our state and the nation as a whole.”
Now that’s a sentiment we can get behind.