Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1772
       By Senator Montford
       3-01517-20                                            20201772__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the environmental value of
    3         agricultural lands and timberlands; creating s.
    4         570.233, F.S.; requiring the Department of Agriculture
    5         and Consumer Services, in collaboration with specified
    6         entities, to determine the environmental value that
    7         agricultural lands and timberlands provide to this
    8         state based on certain factors; requiring the
    9         department to develop a cost-share reimbursement
   10         program to provide funding to agricultural landowners
   11         and timberland owners for the implementation of best
   12         management practices; providing an effective date.
   14         WHEREAS, maintaining healthy and sustainable agricultural
   15  and timber industries is vital to this state’s environmental
   16  resources, natural resources, and economy, and
   17         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes the significant
   18  environmental contributions the agricultural and timber
   19  industries provide to water quality and quantity, air
   20  purification, and habitat for wildlife, including threatened and
   21  endangered species, and
   22         WHEREAS, the Legislature also recognizes that urban and
   23  coastal areas continue to expand increasing pressures on
   24  agricultural lands and timberlands, causing a significant
   25  decrease in acreage, NOW, THEREFORE,
   27  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   29         Section 1. Section 570.233, Florida Statutes, is created to
   30  read:
   31         570.233 Environmental value of agricultural lands and
   32  timberlands.—The Department of Agriculture and Consumer
   33  Services, in consultation with the Department of Environmental
   34  Protection, the University of Florida Institute of Food and
   35  Agriculture Sciences, and the agricultural and timber
   36  industries, shall:
   37         (1)Develop a formula to determine the value that
   38  agricultural lands and timberlands in this state provide for
   39  water recharge, stormwater filtration, wildlife habitat, and
   40  water quality benefits.
   41         (2)Develop a cost-share reimbursement program to provide
   42  funding incentives to agricultural landowners and timberland
   43  owners for the implementation of best management practices. The
   44  department may provide up to 75 percent cost share to the
   45  landowners based on the values calculated pursuant to subsection
   46  (1) for their lands.
   47         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.