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Right to Farm Expansion Law in Florida Starts Thursday

Dan Florida, General, Legislative

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Two months ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law an expansion of legal protections for farmers. And that bill will take effect July 1st, which is the start of the new state fiscal year.

Passed by Florida lawmakers, SB88 expands the state’s “Right to Farm” law, which was initially approved in 1979. It helps shield farmers from what are known as nuisance lawsuits, by prohibiting such lawsuits from being filed by people who do not own property within one-half mile of the alleged violations. It also will limit damages that could be awarded to the market value of any property damaged.

SB 88 also expands the Right to Farm law to include issues related to agritourism and “particle emissions.” In addition, it would require people who file lawsuits to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that farms did not comply with state and federal environmental laws.

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With Florida’s 2021-2022 fiscal year starting Thursday, the new budget also begins. The new budget includes $102 million for the Florida Forever land-conservation program and $300 million to acquire land to protect wildlife corridors. It also includes $415 million for Everglades restoration; $50 million for state parks; $500 million to address effects of rising sea levels and $500 million for wastewater grants.