Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Agricultural Economic Development

The Agricultural Economic Development Program of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to strengthen Florida's agriculture to meet the needs of the world's growing population. The department seeks to accomplish this goal through a variety of inspection, disease management, and marketing activities.

The program comprises six divisions.

  • Animal Industry is responsible for enforcing animal health regulations in Florida and protecting the state from animal pests and diseases. District veterinarians and animal health inspectors throughout the state work with producers, animal owners and private veterinarians to monitor and enhance the health and welfare of Florida's animals. Under Florida's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, the division serves as the lead agency for animal and agricultural issues, and planning and coordinating the state's response to emergencies ranging from hurricanes to animal disease outbreaks.
  • Aquaculture develops and regulates aquaculture in the state; regulates all aquaculture species; conducts shellfish processing plant sanitary inspections; oversees shellfish harvesting area classification, aquaculture certification and BMP compliance, and aquaculture submerged land leasing.
  • Food, Nutrition and Wellness conducts, supervises and administers child nutrition and commodity food distribution programs that are carried out using state or federal funds. The division provides outreach, guidance and training to child nutrition program sponsors, schools, school food service directors, parent and teacher organizations, and students about the benefit of fresh food produced in Florida. The division's mission is to ensure that every child in Florida has access to a healthy, nutritious meal each day; increase awareness and consumption of Florida's agricultural commodities; reduce food insecurity among Florida's most vulnerable populations; and encourage healthy lifestyles among Florida residents.
  • Fruit and Vegetables inspects and certifies all fresh shipments of vegetables, fruit, and nuts covered by the state and federal marketing orders and/or rules. In support of that goal, licenses for all citrus dealers, registrants, and agents of licensed fruit dealers, packinghouses, and processing plants are collected and maintained annually. In addition, the division inspects all fresh tomato packinghouses and farms to ensure compliance with food safety regulations and inspects fresh produce not covered by regulation on a request basis in support of outside entities, export laws, and commercial requirements. Additionally, the division conducts U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Audits.
  • Marketing and Development administers the Fresh From Florida program to help Florida growers and producers market their products. The division partners with retail grocery stores on product promotions and encourage the use of the Fresh From Florida logo for advertising to increase the purchase of Florida-grown commodities. The division's culinary team develops healthy recipes using Florida products and educates consumers about the importance of making nutritious food choices. Additionally, the division operates 12 state farmers markets, promotes and issues permits for county fairs and livestock shows, and gathers agricultural data to assist producers in making production and marketing decisions.
  • Plant Industry works to detect, intercept, and control plant and honey bee pests that threaten Florida's native and commercially grown plants and agricultural resources.