Florida Farm Bureau name Sen. Bill Montford, Rep. Jake Rabun ‘Legislators of the Year’

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Florida’s largest statewide agricultural association named two state lawmakers as its Legislators of the Year, as well as releasing the annual list of Champions for Agriculture.

Florida Farm Bureau recognized Democratic state Sen. Bill Montford and Republican Rep. Jake Raburn for their leadership on agricultural issues, and efforts to advance the interests of Florida’s farmers and ranchers.

Montford took a leading role throughout the 2014 legislative session in supporting and promoting Florida agriculture as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He sponsored two of Florida Farm Bureau’s top legislative priorities: a bill expanding opportunities for agricultural education in schools and another strengthening Florida’s “Greenbelt” law, which allows farmland used for water storage to remain classified as agricultural.

“We are very grateful for Sen. Montford‘s leadership and dedication to strengthen agriculture in the 2014 session,” said Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick. “Senator Montford’s experience and passion for both education and agriculture helped us pass sound policy that benefits students and the environment.”

Raburn sponsored legislation in 2014 to expand agricultural industry certifications in the Career and Professional Education Act. He was also main co-sponsor of HB 575, an unsuccessful attempt to save farmers $2.4 million in sales tax exemptions for irrigation equipment and repairs.

“Representative Raburn is a superb advocate for agriculture,” said Hoblick. “His work ethic and effort as a bill sponsor are unmatched and we are grateful for all he has done to promote issues important to agriculture.”

As well as naming Legislators of the Year, Florida Farm Bureau also released the annual Champions for Agriculture list, recognizing legislators for their role in promoting an agriculture-friendly legislation.

Farm Bureau singled out six state Senators and 18 Representatives who actively supported the state’s farmers and ranchers by sponsoring and co-sponsoring legislation, with a perfect voting record on the Bureau’s agenda.

“Florida Farm Bureau is thankful to have a group of lawmakers in Tallahassee that continue to demonstrate strong leadership and advocacy on behalf of Florida agriculture,” Hoblick said. “We are grateful for their efforts that allow agriculture to continue to benefit our state’s economy and its environment.”

Farm Bureau’s 2014 Champions for Agriculture:

Florida Senate

Sen. Jeff Brandes
Sen. Charlie Dean
Sen. Bill Galvano
Sen. Denise Grimsley
Sen. Bill Montford
Sen. Wilton Simpson

Florida House of Representatives

Rep. Ben Albritton
Rep. Halsey Beshears
Rep. Jim Boyd
Rep. Matt Caldwell
Rep. Marti Coley
Rep. Steve Crisafulli
Rep. Katie Edwards
Rep. Debbie Mayfield
Rep. Jimmy Patronis
Rep. Cary Pigman
Rep. Ray Pilon
Rep. Elizabeth Porter
Rep. Jake Raburn
Rep. Kevin Rader
Rep. Holly Raschein
Rep. Pat Rooney
Rep. Jimmie T. Smith
Rep. Charlie Van Zant

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.