Florida Agriculture Commissioner “Nikki” Fried joined a modest but representative group of south Florida farmers at Bedner Farms Wednesday near Boynton Beach, for an informal lunch and informational exchange about issues of concern to agriculture in the region.
Water, weed, trade and the Department’s Fresh From Florida marketing campaign were among topics mentioned in her remarks after lunch, and she answered questions about those issues and more during the visit in the tiki hut at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market.
The location was appropriate, as Fried emphasized, among other things, that timing is critical right now for farmers to speak up to their legislators about key state budget areas that are critical to the industry. She addresses some of these issues in our interview linked below in this news post.
The meeting began with an informal reception, followed by a presentation by Tommy Strowd, Executive Director of the Lake Worth Drainage District, about the local water district uniquely situated along the east coast of Palm Beach County. The area is largely reliant on water from Lake Okeechobee for everything in the region. Strowd explained why farmers and residents alike worry about present changes in the way Lake Okeechobee is being managed, which some say could put this highly populated and growing fast-growing urban region at risk of drought if rains don’t come as some predict.
I can share from first-hand experience growing up in a farm family in Boynton, just half-dozen miles north of where we had lunch at Bedner’s, the area’s urban growth in recent years is incredible to see. It’s a land that has been totally re-sculpted from what it once was when I grew up not too many years ago.
I had an opportunity to visit with Commissioner Fried afterward to discuss some key issues and legislative concerns:
Gary Cooper is the founder and president of AgNet Media, Inc., based in Gainesville, Florida.