Florida's 17th is the largest agriculture district east of the Mississippi and also the undisputed number one citrus producing district in the entire United States. With citrus, beef, dairy, sugar, and fruit and vegetable farmers, South Florida's agriculture community is richly diverse and a primary economic driver in the region. I am proud to be a strong voice for farmers and ranchers in Washington as the sole Florida member serving on the House Appropriations Committee's Agriculture Subcommittee. This Subcommittee funds important agricultural and food programs and services, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs. On this Subcommittee, I work hard each year to make sure that Florida’s agricultural interests are properly represented in Congress. I am also proud to serve as Chairman of the Congressional Citrus Caucus and as a member of the Congressional Dairy Caucus.
Fighting for Florida's citrus growers: Over the past decade, the biggest threat to Florida agriculture has been the devastating impact of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease. Over the course of my eight years in Congress, I have worked aggressively to ensure my colleagues understand the grave consequences of HLB and the need for dedicated research funding to continue working towards a cure. In the 2014 Farm Bill, I secured a steady stream of funding specifically dedicated to citrus greening research by authorizing a $125 million program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since then, I've secured yearly funding to provide immediate solutions directly to growers and provide researchers and growers with funds crucial to preventing this disease from further plaguing our valuable industry. Growers need confidence in the future of the industry to put new trees in the ground, so I promise to continue working to do everything I can in Washington to make sure that this industry will be there for the next generation of Floridians.
Protecting a robust domestic food supply: I've always said that sustaining our country's ability to feed itself is not just an economic issue, it's a national security issue. An important aspect of protecting a secure and affordable domestic food supply is supporting research that helps mitigate and stop devastating crop diseases, improves food safety and water quality, increases production, and combats antimicrobial resistance. I strongly support sustained federal investments in agriculture research and other important initiatives, including funding for U.S. land-grant colleges and universities, Florida’s Ag in the Classroom program, and programs that help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that can be crippling to U.S. producers. I also am committed to once and for all eliminating the federal death tax that threatens family farms and small businesses.
I strongly believe the federal government should be a partner with agriculture, and not weigh it down with unnecessary restrictions and bureaucratic red tape. It's incumbent upon Members like me, who represent important rural and agricultural areas of the country, to ensure that farmers across the U.S. can continue to produce a safe, affordable and abundant food supply.