Fresh From Florida Marketing Threatened by Major Budget Cuts

Fresh From Florida booth at 2017 Florida Citrus Show
Photo by Paul Rusnak

The Fresh From Florida marketing program is set to take a major hit if current state legislature budget appropriations proposals hold. The program, with its familiar Sunshine State logo, promotes locally grown crops, livestock, and seafood in Florida, the U.S., and abroad. Florida growers who join the program (for a nominal fee) get access to a number of marketing tools aimed at helping them sell their goods.

But, that might be in jeopardy after Florida House’s Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee approved a budget of only $2.06 million for the Fresh From Florida program. The previous year’s budget for the program was nearly $13 million. The Senate’s Environmental & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee approved a budget of $5.8 million for the program.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam released a strongly worded statement about the House’s proposal to cut Fresh From Florida. The agency operates the program.

“This is a political assault on a good program that will have real consequences on real people,” Putnam stated. “Gutting the Fresh From Florida program will hurt Florida’s small farms the most — their ability to raise awareness for the high quality of their locally grown products and compete against lesser quality products from foreign countries.”

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association activated its Grassroots Action Center to encourage Florida voters contact lawmakers to voice support for the program and other agriculture spending priorities, including UF/IFAS and the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program.

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association also sent out a call to action to its members about going to bat for the program.

The budget vote will take place April, 5.

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One comment on “Fresh From Florida Marketing Threatened by Major Budget Cuts

  1. If NAFTA wasn’t so unfair to the Florida farmer, (which allows daily flow of illegal drugs to poor across our borders) with commodities selling for less than production cost, Florida growers would not need a dime of the states budget to promote a crop. Fix the REAL problem, NAFTA. Will somebody in the media please tally the number of drugs discovered in PRODUCE LOADS ONLY in the past couple of years, it is a huge problem. And to think the number caught is less than 10% crossing. Somebody please expose this crisis for what it is, cheap produce cover for expensive illicit drugs, destroying our nation.

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