U.S. Representative Greg Steube represents a big part of Florida’s agricultural breadbasket, representing a district that roughly covers from Bartow to Fort Myers and Sarasota to Okeechobee.
Accordingly, the Sarasota Republican has launched a new Agriculture Advisory Committee for the district.
His office issued the announcement on Friday, as he conducted the panel’s first meeting in Arcadia.
Ranchers, farmers, and others involved in agriculture production have signed on to participate, according to Steube’s office.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Florida’s 17th District. As your representative, it’s my job to advocate in Washington for Florida’s growers and agriculture workers,” Steube said in a statement.
“I look forward to many more discussions of our shared goals and legislative priorities. Together we’ll ensure Florida’s agriculture industry continues to remain strong.”
The committee will work to offer Steube and his staff advice, information, and recommendations about federal agriculture policy.
The committee’s first session covered topics such as water usage and supply; livestock; immigration, visas, and labor; the supply chain situation; and future priorities for the district in the federal farm bill.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stube’s district is the third-largest in Florida for the number of agricultural producers and farms, more than 5,000 of which are in his jurisdiction.
The 17th District churns out 15 percent of the state’s overall agricultural production, and with more than $1 billion in sales, it also ranks first in Florida in overall production.
Nationally, among more than 400 congressional districts, the 17th District ranks 16 in the production of fruits, tree nuts, and berries, and 18th in for nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod operations.