FL Farm Bureau Opposes U.S. Sugar Buyout by SFWMD

Gary Cooper Citrus, Florida, Sugar

John HoblickFlorida Farm Bureau President John L. Hoblick today issued the following statement:
At its meeting on Dec. 10, the board of directors of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF), the state’s largest general interest agricultural organization, declared its opposition to the acquisition of U.S. Sugar Corp. lands by the South Florida Water Management District. The Federation firmly supports the rights of private property owners to acquire, use and sell property but opposes the unnecessary acquisition of more land by government.

The Federation is also concerned that the proposed purchase would drain funding and focus away from implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and other initiatives in which much time and funding have been invested. The purchase of U.S. Sugar’s land would likely cause thousands of acres of productive agricultural land to be removed from local tax rolls, leaving local communities struggling to make up for the loss of ad valorem tax revenues and endangering their future. Further, the plan for the SFWMD to purchase U.S. Sugar’s land, then to lease it back to the company over a seven-year period at a bargain rate would create unfair competitive advantages over other South Florida agricultural producers.