Family farmer Sam Accursio from Homestead was among the last four remaining South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) governing board members who spoke their minds bluntly during their final board meeting last month. Accursio’s family has been farming vegetables in Homestead for generations. He says recent actions and operational decisions could indicate a change of direction for the regional flood control mission farmers have always depended on.
This Thursday, the South Florida Water Management District will see the recently overhauled governing board seated for its first monthly meeting at the District’s headquarters in West Palm Beach. The new board replaces the group that exited last month at the behest of Governor Ron DeSantis, who abruptly ended all their terms to make way for a completely new board of his choosing.
In this exclusive AgNet interview recorded just after the February governing board meeting, Accursio voices his strong concern about an apparent new direction he says will leave farmers without a direct voice on the board. He explains that farmers and some areas in the region are already being left unprotected from flooding, as urban interests and environmental activists take complete control of the District’s decision-making process.
Describing examples of changing flood control philosophies already taking place at the District, Accursio discusses the complexities of these issues and the potential unintended consequence of less farms and even more development, faster, into the future:
FOOTNOTE: In a Facebook post as recent as this week , Homestead farmer and former SFWMD governing board member Sam Accursio continues to voice his opinion about the changes underway at the District, which he says are putting farmers at risk:
Gary Cooper is the founder and president of AgNet Media, Inc., based in Gainesville, Florida.