Senate Bill 872 has passed the Florida Legislature unanimously and was signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill creates, within the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Young Farmer and Rancher Advisory Council.
The 12 members will be appointed by the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. Initially, six will serve one-year terms; six will serve two-year terms. After that, all members will serve for two years.
Helps beginning farmers
SB 872 requires, annually, that the new advisory council submit to the commissioner any “findings and recommendations for mitigating challenges facing aspiring farmers and ranchers in the early stages of their careers. The council may examine issues that include, but are not limited to, access to land, availability of credit and capital, and access to business skills training.”
In addition, the bill creates the Florida Young Farmer and Rancher Resource Clearinghouse, which will showcase “resources available to young and beginning farmers and ranchers, including, but not limited to, local, state, federal and private sources of grants, loans and scholarships; as well as general resources on finance and business planning.”
Helps veterans, too
According to SB 872, “The clearinghouse also must include resources available to beginning agricultural producers who are veterans.”
The bill will take effect on July 1.
The Florida Farm Bureau’s website, floridafarmbureau.org, defines members of its Young Farmers and Ranchers Program as “between the ages of 18-35 who have a desire to network, share ideas, participate in community projects and hone their leadership skills. The Florida Farm Bureau has an array of opportunities for this group of young agriculturists to become strong leaders for the future of agriculture.”