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. 13 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, 26 27 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 28 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.