funding bills _ citrus / ifas

Mechanical harvesters at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee. HB 2383 would provide $1 million in nonrecurring funding to SWFREC, part of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. / Photo courtesy of IFAS

The following funding bills have been filed in the Florida House of Representatives. Unless otherwise noted, the funding covers fiscal year 2017-18. The subject and official synopsis of each bill are in italics.

House Bill 333; sponsor: Charles “Chuck” Clemons (R-District 21). (A similar bill, SB 600, has been filed in the state Senate.)

Rural Economic Development InitiativeRequires analysis of Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) & rural areas of opportunity; revises legislative intent; redefines term “rural area of opportunity”; revises duties, responsibilities, & membership of REDI; revises reporting requirements.


HB 333 seeks to help economically depressed rural communities and regions to improve the quality of life of their citizens by encouraging and facilitating “job creation through … major economic development projects; … improved community infrastructure, including … roads, utilities, water and sewer, and broadband; … development and expansion of a skilled workforce; (and) improved access to healthcare.”

For more information, visit www.floridajobs.org/business-growth-and-partnerships/rural-and-economic-development-initiative.

HB 2205; sponsor: Ramon Alexander (D-Dist. 8)

Sustainability Institute — Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University: Provides an appropriation for the Sustainability Institute — Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

HB 2205 provides $716,000 in nonrecurring funding for the Sustainability Institute at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Created in 2014, the Sustainability Institute’s goals include “advancing the research, teaching, and application of innovative solutions to global socio-economic, ecological and energy sustainability issues. … The institute will directly engage students with the goal of training future sustainability practitioners, entrepreneurs, leaders in science, technology, research, engineering, agriculture and mathematics (STREAM), and other related disciplines,” according to its website.

For more information, visit www.famu.edu/index.cfm?AboutFAMU.

HB 2383; sponsor: Byron Donalds (R-Dist. 80)

Upgrade Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at IFAS: Provides an appropriation for upgrade of Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at IFAS.

HB 2383 provides $1 million in nonrecurring funding to upgrade the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

Established in 1958 in Immokalee, the 320-acre SWFREC serves growers, farmers and others by providing “decision-makers with specific knowledge to sustain and enhance agricultural, human and natural resources through … research, extension and teaching programs,” its website says.

For more information, visit www.imok.ufl.edu.

HB 2681; sponsor: Kionne McGhee (D-Dist. 117)

Farm Share Program — Florida City State Farmers MarketProvides an appropriation for the Farm Share Program — Florida City State Farmers Market.

HB 2681 provides $500,000 in nonrecurring funding for the Farm Share Program of the Florida City State Farmers Market, in Florida City.

“Farm Share, using inmate labor and volunteers, re-sorts and packages an abundance of surplus food and distributes it to individuals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, churches and other organizations feeding the hungry in Florida — free of charge,” according to its website.

For more information, visit farmshare.org.

HB 2691; sponsor: Charles “Chuck” Clemons (R-Dist. 21)

Hardee County Cattlemen’s Arena and Exposition Hall: Provides an appropriation for the Hardee County Cattlemen’s Arena and Exposition Hall.

HB 2691 provides $300,000 in nonrecurring funding to the Hardee County Cattlemen’s Arena and Exposition Hall.

A variety of events take place at the Hardy County Cattlemen’s Arena and Exposition Hall. HB 2691, if passed, would provide $300,000 in funding to the Wauchula facility. / Photo courtesy of Hardee County Fair

In Wauchula, the Hardee County Cattlemen’s Arena and Exposition Hall hosts events such as the Market Steer Show (Feb. 22, 2017); Livestock Auction (Feb. 23); and the Mexican Rodeo, Mutton Bustin’ and Entertainment (Feb. 25).

For more information, visit www.hardeecountyfair.org/events/location/hardee-county-cattlemans-arena.

HB 2701; sponsor: Larry Lee Jr. (D-Dist. 84)

Treasure Coast Food Bank Florida Agriculture & Nourishment CollaborativeProvides an appropriation for the Treasure Coast Food Bank Florida Agriculture and Nourishment Collaborative.

HB 2701 provides $1.05 million in nonrecurring funding for the Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Florida Agriculture & Nourishment Collaborative (FANC).

FANC has 100 Florida farmers, 100 local schools and 400 human-services agencies that provide food for 100,000 low-income people in Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties. “By processing, vacuum-sealing, and cold-storing the produce, the program extends its usable life, enabling many more agencies and individuals to access it,” FANC’s website says.

For more information, visit stophunger.org/fanc.

For more information, visit the Florida Legislature’s website, www.leg.state.fl.us.