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

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

What is the purpose of the department?

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services supports and promotes Florida agriculture, protects the environment, safeguards consumers, and ensures the safety and wholesomeness of foods. Among other programs and activities, the department
  • protects Florida's livestock, honey bees, and crop plants from pests and diseases;
  • manages over a million acres of state forest land for multiple uses, including timber, wildlife habitat, and recreation;
  • acts as the state's clearinghouse for consumer concerns, whose call center analysts answer questions, provide information, and help resolve complaints; and
  • tests for toxins, allergens, chemical contaminants, pesticide residues, food additives, and fraudulent formulations in food samples.

How does the department perform its mission?

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services accomplishes its mission through four major programs.

  • Agricultural Economic Development Program works to strengthen Florida's agriculture to meet the needs of the world's growing population through six divisions (Animal Industry, Aquaculture, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, Fruit and Vegetables, Marketing and Development, and Plant Industry).
  • Consumer Protection Program protects consumers and businesses from unfair and unsafe business practices across a wide range of market sectors while administering various state and federal regulatory programs concerning environmental and consumer protection issues through its two divisions (Agricultural Environmental Services and Consumer Services).
  • Forest and Resource Protection Program, via the Florida Forest Service, protects and manages the forest resources of Florida ensuring that they will be available for future generations. The Forest Service manages over 1 million acres of state forests for multiple public uses, including timber, recreation and wildlife habitat, and offers technical information and grant programs to landowners to help them improve their forestland. Through wildfire prevention and suppression, the Forest Service works to protect homeowners from the threat of damage in a natural, fire-dependent environment.
  • Food Safety and Quality Program is responsible for assuring the public of a safe, wholesome, and properly represented food supply through permitting and inspection of food establishments, inspection and evaluation of food products, and performance of specialized laboratory analysis on a variety of food products sold or produced in the state. The division administers and enforces food, poultry, and egg laws; supports the enforcement of other food safety laws; and investigates consumer complaints related to food (Division of Food Safety).

The department also houses the Division of Licensing, which administers Florida's concealed weapon licensing program and oversees Florida's private investigative, private security, and recovery services industries.

Also contained within the department's administrative budget category are three significant functions—the Offices of Agricultural Water Policy, Agricultural Law Enforcement, and Energy.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2021-22
Fund Dollars Positions
AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF, AND COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
PROGRAM: AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS MARKETING
31,062,053
100.00
ANIMAL PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL
11,551,869
115.00
AQUACULTURE
4,048,980
44.00
FOOD, NUTRITION AND WELLNESS
1,297,730,655
100.00
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
25,587,693
117.00
PLANT PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL
46,870,005
378.00
PROGRAM: AGRICULTURE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION CENTER
OFFICE OF AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
11,798,970
54.00
PROGRAM: CONSUMER PROTECTION
AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
21,258,531
186.00
CONSUMER PROTECTION
21,530,847
284.00
PROGRAM: FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY
FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
25,056,075
305.00
PROGRAM: FOREST AND RESOURCE PROTECTION
FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE
137,450,774
1,180.00
PROGRAM: OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER AND ADMINISTRATION
AGRICULTURAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
28,785,561
302.00
AGRICULTURAL WATER POLICY COORDINATION
46,569,773
59.00
DIVISION OF LICENSING
38,457,236
302.00
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
26,815,022
186.25
OFFICE OF ENERGY
3,062,039
14.00
TOTAL
1,777,636,083
3,726.25

Updates

Farming Operations. The 2021 Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-7, Laws of Florida, amending the Florida Right to Farm Act. The bill expands and modernizes protections currently available under the Act to protect farmers from lawsuits based on their routine farming and agricultural activities. The bill also adds agritourism to the definition of a farm operation.

Urban Agriculture. The Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-115, Laws of Florida, Urban Agriculture. The bill defines “urban agriculture” as any new or existing noncommercial agricultural uses on land that is within a dense urban land area, not classified as agricultural, not zoned as agricultural as its principal use, and is designated by a municipality for inclusion in an urban agricultural pilot project that has been approved by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The term does not apply to vegetable gardens for personal consumption on residential properties.

The bill exempts propelled equipment used on a farm or used to transport farm products for the purpose of urban agriculture from the requirement that farm equipment be stored, maintained, or repaired within the boundaries of the owner’s farm and kept at least 50 feet away from any public road without limitation. It also provides that nonresidential farm buildings, fences, or signs located on lands used for urban agriculture are not exempt from the Florida Building Code or local governmental regulations.

Lastly, the bill creates urban agricultural pilot projects, which grants the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services authority to approve five urban agricultural pilot project programs in municipalities throughout the state.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports

2020 State Agriculture Overview Florida, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2019-2020 Annual Report, FDACS Division of Fruit and Vegetables.

A complete list of Auditor General reports is available on its website.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Inspector General reports are available on its website.

Websites of Interest
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Federal Trade Commission
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services A to Z Resource Guide 

Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapter 570 and s. 20.14, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352)

Website