Vern Buchanan and Alcee Hastings
The Florida delegation met on Thursday to focus on agriculture in the Sunshine State.
Most of the delegation, led by co-chairmen U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., were attended the meeting, focusing on trade policy with Mexico, disaster relief and citrus greening.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida Farm Bureau Federation President John Hoblick, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association President Mike Joyner and Alan Shelby, the executive vice president of the Florida Forestry Association spoke at the meeting.
“Agriculture is critical to our home state,” Buchanan said after the meeting. “Crops, livestock, forestry and fishery industries support more than two million full-time and part-time jobs.
“One of the most pressing issues impacting Florida’s agriculture industry is addressing the unprecedented growth in imports from Mexico as a result of their unfair subsidies and illegal seasonal dumping, and the impact it’s having domestically,” Buchanan continued. “Since 2000, Florida has experienced a loss between $1 and $3 billion each year due to increased Mexican imports according to Florida’s Department of Agriculture.”
Agriculture adds $130 billion annually to Florida.
Buchanan noted that 19 of the state’s 27 congressional representatives were at the meeting and stressed the important role the Florida delegation plays on Capitol Hill.
“We have the third largest [congressional] delegation. When we come together we can get things done,” Buchanan said.