Florida Protects Milestone 100,000 Agricultural Acres From Development

Florida Protects Milestone 100,000 Agricultural Acres From Development

Florida celebrates preserving 100,000 acres of agricultural land from urban development projects

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 19, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—In a landmark environmental win, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson announced Monday that the Sunshine State has now preserved over 100,000 acres of agricultural lands from development.

“Reaching the milestone of preserving more than 100,000 acres of agricultural lands, and more than 36,000 acres in the last year alone, represents a significant achievement in land conservation in Florida," Simpson said in a statement. "We are working every day to secure the future of agriculture in Florida – before it’s too late.”

Made possible by the 2001 Rural and Family Lands Protection Act, the program highlights the importance of protecting agricultural lands from urban development.

Earlier this month, the University of Florida with 1000 Friends of Florida—a non-profit advocacy group—projected a potential loss of up to 2.2 million acres of agricultural land over the coming decades, meaning a loss of 45,000 acres to development per year.

“When you’re talking about protecting ag land, you’re not just talking about protecting the agricultural industry, you’re also talking about significant contributions to conservation in Florida,” Vivian Young, the 1000 Friends Communications Director said.

“Ag lands play a tremendous role in protecting wildlife habitat, and conservation of landmark animals like panthers and black bears. Ag lands can also play a role in climate change resilience and flood control.”

In the recently passed SB 1638, Commissioner Simpson helped secure $100 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and another $100 million each fiscal year to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a protected statewide network of nearly 18 million acres of ecosystems containing state parks, national forests, and wildlife management areas.

Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis approved rural land easements on Adams Ranch and Buck Island Ranch, located respectively in Osceola and Highlands Counties.

Together, the two ranches account for more than 13,000 acres and are home to some of the top-producing cow-calf ranches in the United States.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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