The Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District invites farmers, ranchers, landowners and agricultural producers to a lunch-and-learn program Sept. 7 at the Hillsborough Cattlemen’s Association building in Plant City, at 6404 South County Road 39.
Sponsored by the cattlemen’s association, event speakers are set to address legislation, programs and assistance geared toward agricultural interests. Also at the luncheon, learn more about Fresh From Florida, a program that promotes Florida agricultural products domestically and abroad.
The initiative falls under FDACS, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, headed by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson. By joining the Fresh From Florida program, small and large producers benefit from the widely recognized brand, marketing campaigns, retail partnerships and industry outreach.
The two-hour luncheon is set to start 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7. Advance registration is requested by Sept. 3.
Scheduled to speak are State Sen. Jarrid "Jay" Collins, R-14, and Florida House Rep. Daniel Antonio “Danny” Alvarez, R-69, both of whom successfully advanced measures supported by Commissioner Simpson during the 2023 legislative session. One measure establishes the Florida Farm Tax Exempt Agricultural Materials (TEAM) Card, to streamline the tax-exemption process for farmers. Another measure prohibits countries of concern from buying agricultural land or property near military bases.
Also on the agenda are environmental specialist Matt Warren, from FDACS, and state conservationist Juan Hernandez, from NRCS, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
About the Speakers
State Sen. Jay Collins — Elected in 2022, Sen. Collins is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and chairman of the 13-member Hillsborough Legislative Delegation. Adopted and raised by his grandparents, he spent his early years on the family farm. A highly decorated U.S. Army Special Services combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Sen. Collins serves on nine committees, including the Committee for Military and Veterans Affairs.
State Rep. Danny Alvarez — Elected in 2022, Rep. Alvarez, serves on the House Subcommittee for Agriculture, Conservation and Resiliency, among other assignments. Retired from both the U.S. Army and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Alvarez is a Tampa-based attorney practicing in all aspects of family law. He serves as general counsel for the Tampa Police Benevolent Association and was a jumping member of “Silver Wings,” the historic Fort Benning Command Exhibition Parachute Team.
Matt Warren is an environmental manager with FDACS, which provides cost-share, mini-grant funding to farmers, ranchers and landowners seeking to use and advance best management practices.
Juan Hernandez is a state conservationist with NRCS, which oversees programs that provide technical and financial assistance to eligible producers and landowners who voluntarily implement practices to protect soil, water, air, wildlife habitats, and related natural resources.
Also set to attend the luncheon . . .
The Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors, chaired by Ryan Gill, with vice chair Adam Young, treasurer Robert "Myke" Morris, past-chair Mark Proctor and supervisor Christopher "Bear" McCullough, who serves also as president of the Hillsborough Cattlemen's Association. With them will be Heather Thompson, HSWCD interim executive director.
For more information, call Thompson at 813-347-6706. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.