Pepe Fanjul, Jr., executive vice president of Florida Crystals Corporation, joined other farmers from the Everglades Agricultural Area, Gov. Rick Scott, members of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, South Florida Water Management District and environmental groups including the Everglades Foundation and Audubon Florida to celebrate the governor’s signing of historic Everglades restoration legislation. The Everglades restoration bill reflects an agreement by farmers, policymakers, and environmental advocates. The measure enjoyed unanimous passage in both the Florida House and Senate.
“Florida Crystals is delighted to be a part of this great event and seeing everyone here together, praising this great piece of legislation shows we are all moving in the right direction for the Everglades,” said Pepe Fanjul, Jr. “This was truly a bipartisan effort and one we greatly support.”
Pepe Fanjul, Jr. is proud of the role Florida Crystals and other Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farmers have played in Everglades restoration for more than two decades. Farmers’ high tech, on-farm Best Management Practices (BMPs) are recognized in the legislation for their success in reducing phosphorus by an average of 55 percent each year for the past 17 years. EAA farmers have invested $200 million to implement the farming practices that are providing proven results for Florida’s Everglades. EAA farmers have also contributed a further more than $200 million by paying a special tax that is used to construct Everglades restoration projects. Farmers are, in fact, the largest private contributors to Everglades restoration.
Besides its role in helping provide water to the Everglades, the farming region known as the Everglades Agricultural Area is also of great importance for food production, especially during the winter months. The EAA is number one in the nation for the production of winter leaf crops, because of South Florida’s warm climate. The area is also a top producer of sugar cane, vegetables and sweet corn. It’s the largest rice-producing region in the Southeast and is strong economic driver for the state.