In the previous story on our FFAA blog, we outlined the importance of the Florida Farm Bureau (FFB) Champions for Agriculture award, and how it recognizes legislative members who have heard the concerns of Florida’s farming industry as well as helped bring about common-sense legislation. In this second and final installment, we’ll delve a little deeper into the who and why of this FFB accolade.
Florida Farm Bureau’s 2018 Champions for Agriculture were as follows in the Florida Senate: Lauren Book, Bill Galvano, Denise Grimsley, David Simmons, Wilton Simpson, and Kelli Stargel. In the state House: Ben Albritton, Jim Boyd, Matt Caldwell, Chuck Clemons, Byron Donalds, Brad Drake, Katie Edwards-Walpole, Tom Goodson, Jamie Grant, Sam Killebrew, Lawrence McClure, Jake Raburn, Holly Raschein, Paul Renner, Rick Roth, Charlie Stone, and Jayer Williamson.
Then, on April 16, the Florida Farm Bureau further recognized two Florida lawmakers as Legislators of the Year for their “outstanding work and contributions during the 2018 legislative session for Florida’s farmers and ranchers.”
These lawmakers, Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland and Rep. Paul Renner of Palm Coast, who “provided leadership on key bills and issues that will significantly improve and strengthen our agricultural community in Florida, including temporary tax relief to help in hurricane recovery efforts, regulatory relief, and improvements to Greenbelt,” the FFB stated in a press release.
Under the Florida Greenbelt Law, Florida’s farming lands for sale that are purchased and used for bona fide agricultural activities, excluding wholesaling, retailing, or processing of farm products, are taxed based on the current “use” value of the property versus its development value, which typically is much higher.
The Florida Farm Bureau had the following praise for Sen. Stargel: “During the 2018 legislative session, Sen. Kelli Stargel’s hand was on nearly every bit of Florida Farm Bureau’s legislative agenda. Sen. Stargel sponsored two important pieces of legislation: a bill to expand the exemption for agricultural-restricted license plates and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ legislative package, which included improvements to Greenbelt. As Chair of the Senate Finance and Tax Committee, Sen. Stargel also included the entirety of Sen. Denise Grimsley’s legislation providing tax relief for hurricane relief and recovery on the Senate’s tax-cut package.”
And, there was this praise for Rep. Renner: “As Chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the House, Rep. Paul Renner played a leading role in securing critical tax relief for farmers and ranchers impacted by Hurricane Irma. During the 2018 legislative session, Rep. Renner was committed to providing as much hurricane recovery assistance to as many producers around the state as possible, doing what he could to put dollars back in the pockets of growers for storm recovery.”
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