AgWATCH Session Recap

May 2023 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

AgWATCH is an update of legislative issues affecting agriculture.

Sine Die

On Friday, May 5th, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the Sergeants dropped the handkerchiefs and the 2023 Legislative Session celebrated sine die! While this year’s legislative session certainly saw its fair share of controversial and headline worthy legislation, the Florida House and Senate worked tirelessly to pass good bills and a robust budget that will positively impact our industry and the state as a whole.


The Budget
Weighing in at the largest in Florida’s history, this year’s budget boasts $117 billion, with a large portion of that aiding the agriculture industry. In an effort to make a positive impact on the environment and protect our industry for years to come, $100 million was allocated to the Rural and Family Lands Program, which supports the purchase of conservation easements to protect agricultural land from development. IFAS received $3.8 million for workload, $6.2 million for BMP research, and $10.9 million for the Center for Artificial Intelligence. Additionally, $30 million was allocated for citrus research.


Tax Package
The legislature spent the last several weeks of session negotiating a sweeping tax overhaul which included a sales tax exemption for materials used to construct or repair permanent or temporary fencing to contain, confine, or process cattle. Most notably, however, the package prohibits local municipalities from levying special assessments on agricultural land. This piece of legislation was a priority of FFBF this session. To view additional information on the bill, click here.


Senate Bill 1184 / House Bill 1343
On day 60 of session, SB 1184 / HB 1343 died in Senate messages. This bill aimed to make positive changes for the construction of new farm worker housing, but unfortunately the legislature ran out of time while negotiating the nuances of the bill. We want to thank Representative Kaley Tuck and Senator Jay Collins for their hard work on the bill. The House passed the bill unanimously on the floor but fell short in the Senate. We anticipate continuing this good work next year. To view additional information on the bill, click here.


Senate Bill 1164 / House Bill 1279
The Department of Agriculture Package Bill passed on the House and Senate floors unanimously. This bill is a multi-faceted, department/industry wide package that includes the Farm TEAM Card. This card is meant to provide a more streamlined process for producers to receive the agricultural sales tax exemptions they are given in our state. This bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk, and we will be providing more information soon on how to apply for your own Farm TEAM Card. To view additional information on the bill, click here.


Senate Bill 1718 / House Bill 1617
Florida Farm Bureau was instrumental in ensuring that that the implementation of the federal E-verify system was prospective, applying only to new hires after July 1, 2023. Additionally, the bill exempted private employers with 24 or less employees from having to use the federal E-Verify system when hiring workers and we substantially lessened the punitive side of the original bill that was presented. To view additional information on the bill, click here.