The Florida Legislature’s War Against The Florida Farmer

    If history teaches us anything, messing with the farmer puts the American people at risk. Stalin went after farmers in the Ukraine in the 1930’s and the result was massive famine.

    By James DeCocq

    As you read this article, there are legislators in Tallahassee that are plotting the outright seizure and displacement of Florida farmers. These farmers have been tilling the land for generations, creating jobs for thousands, and making sure during the wintertime that the eastern United States has had access to high quality low cost food.

    This devastating legislation would result in the loss of thousands of agricultural jobs in South Florida, have a devastating negative impact on towns and cities in the area, and also end up decreasing the supply of United States food production. The cost of vegetables and fruits would skyrocket for millions of Americans.

    How did we arrive at such a juncture?

    The legislation looming over South Florida farmers is Florida Senate Bill 10, championed by Senator Joe Negron. It is the result of what happens when people with good intentions get coupled with questionable science and have access to the public’s money. The net result is a perfect storm against Florida agriculture.

    In fact, as the legislative session has progressed, the bill is now projected to target some of the most fertile soil in South Florida near Lake Okeechobee. Even that was not enough, as these lawmakers have put language into place which will threaten land ownership from coast to coast in South Florida.

    Already, the State of Florida owns most of the land south of Okeechobee. With the passage of Senate Bill 10, this will empower them to hand over tens of thousands of acres of more fertile soil into the hands of the South Florida Water Management District.

    Other key players in this drama include environmentalist organizations who in the name of protecting our water are pushing Florida lawmakers at a breakneck speed, without considering the effect on private property rights or the implications of potential job loss. It will contribute to the eradication of thousands of fertile acres.

    Of course, as usual, the proponents of Florida Senate Bill 10 will tell you they are only going to be taking the land of farmers that are willing to sell. But, according to local farmers in the affected areas, there is no one who is interested in selling.

    In many cases, these farms have been in operation for several generations. Even if the offers to buy their land reach outlandish price levels, the negative effects will still remain. Less farmland means less agricultural jobs and less farm output. The result? Less food and more expensive commodities for the American consumer.

    If history teaches us anything, messing with the farmer puts the American people at risk. Stalin went after farmers in the Ukraine in the 1930’s and the result was massive famine.

    Closer to home today, the socialists in Venezuela have nationalized farms and the result at present is getting worse day by day. Venezuelans are running out of food. They are literally having to eat dogs, cats, flamingos and pigeons to survive.

    It does not have to end this way here in Florida and America. While there is time… call, write and email your Florida state legislator. An important vote is happening on this week. No matter the outcome, the legislation has to reach a full House and Senate vote.

    By making your voice heard now… you go on record early.

    Let them know you are for a more reasonable approach for environmental protection. It is time to take a stand for Florida farmers and let your voice be heard before it is too late.

    Americans deserve and must come together to protect private property rights and the ability for Florida farmers to produce some of the finest food in the world. Just say no Florida Senate Bill 10!


    James DeCocq is a marine biologist, former city manager in South Florida, and government accountability expert.