HB 421

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to agricultural-related exemptions to
3water management requirements; amending s. 373.406, F.S.;
4revising an exemption for agricultural-related activities
5to include certain impacts to surface waters and wetlands;
6providing for retroactive application of the exemption;
7amending s. 373.407, F.S.; providing exclusive authority
8to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to
9determine whether certain activities qualify for an
10agricultural-related exemption under specified conditions;
11requiring a specified memorandum of agreement between the
12department and each water management district; authorizing
13the department to adopt rules; amending s. 403.927, F.S.;
14providing an exemption from mitigation requirements for
15converted agricultural lands under certain conditions;
16revising the definition of the term "agricultural
17activities" to include cultivating, fallowing, and
18leveling and to provide for certain impacts to surface
19waters and wetlands; providing an effective date.
21Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
23     Section 1.  Subsection (2) of section 373.406, Florida
24Statutes, is amended to read:
25     373.406  Exemptions.-The following exemptions shall apply:
26     (2)  Notwithstanding s. 403.927, nothing herein, or in any
27rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be
28construed to affect the right of any person engaged in the
29occupation of agriculture, silviculture, floriculture, or
30horticulture to alter the topography of any tract of land,
31including, but not limited to, activities that may impede or
32divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impact wetlands,
33for purposes consistent with the practice of such occupation.
34However, such alteration or activity may not be for the sole or
35predominant purpose of impeding impounding or diverting the flow
36of obstructing surface waters or adversely impacting wetlands.
37This exemption has retroactive application to July 1, 1984.
38     Section 2.  Section 373.407, Florida Statutes, is amended
39to read:
40     373.407  Determination of qualification Memorandum of
41agreement for an agricultural-related exemption.-In the event of
42a dispute as to the applicability of an exemption, No later than
43July 1, 2007, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
44Services and each water management district shall enter into a
45memorandum of agreement under which the Department of
46Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist in a
47determination by a water management district or landowner may as
48to whether an existing or proposed activity qualifies for the
49exemption in s. 373.406(2). The memorandum of agreement shall
50provide a process by which, upon the request of a water
51management district, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
52Services to make a binding determination shall conduct a
53nonbinding review as to whether an existing or proposed activity
54qualifies for an agricultural-related exemption under in s.
55373.406(2). The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
56and each water management district shall enter into a memorandum
57of agreement or amend an existing memorandum of agreement which
58sets forth shall provide processes and procedures by which the
59Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall undertake
60its this review, make a determination effectively and
61efficiently, and provide notice of its determination to the
62applicable water management district or landowner. The
63Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has exclusive
64authority to make the determination under this section and may
65adopt rules to implement this section and s. 373.406(2) issue a
67     Section 3.  Subsection (3) and paragraph (a) of subsection
68(4) of section 403.927, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
69     403.927  Use of water in farming and forestry activities.-
70     (3)  If land served by a water management system is
71converted to a use other than an agricultural use, the water
72management system, or the portion of the system which serves
73that land, will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
74However, mitigation under chapter 373 or this chapter to offset
75any adverse effects caused by agricultural activities that
76occurred before the conversion of the land is not required if
77the activities occurred on the land in at least 4 of the last 7
78years preceding the conversion.
79     (4)  As used in this section, the term:
80     (a)  "Agricultural activities" includes all necessary
81farming and forestry operations which are normal and customary
82for the area, such as site preparation, clearing, fencing,
83contouring to prevent soil erosion, soil preparation, plowing,
84planting, cultivating, harvesting, fallowing, leveling,
85construction of access roads, and placement of bridges and
86culverts, provided such operations are not for the sole or
87predominant purpose of impeding do not impede or diverting
88divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impacting
90     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.