florida department of agriculture

Everglades Fire Burns 17,000 Acres

19 hours ago
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

A lightning strike started a 17,000-acre wildfire in the eastern Everglades that threatened Monday to cause smoky conditions on Interstate 75 through Alligator Alley, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Firefighters were monitoring and patrolling, but the forest service said suppression efforts were hampered because of the remote location of the blaze, which was in west-central Broward County.

The fire started Sunday evening about one mile north of Interstate 75 and four miles west of U.S. 27, the forest service said.

New Cannabis Chief Sees Potential In Hemp

Feb 6, 2019

Saying hemp is poised to be a “multibillion-dollar industry in the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday appointed the state’s first cannabis czar.

Fried, a Democrat elected in November who made increasing access to medical marijuana one of the cornerstones of her campaign, tapped Holly Bell, a former banker, to serve as director of cannabis. Fried created the position after taking over the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services last month.

ADAM PUTNAM/YOUTUBE

A follow-up report on the handling of the state’s concealed-carry permitting process pointed to a lack of management oversight by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, but the agency claims it is addressing the issues.

The examination of the department’s handling of the permitting program, issued Wednesday by state Auditor General Sherrill Norman, found the agency needs more controls over employees that review applications for private investigator, security officer, recovery agent, and concealed weapon licenses.

The candidates to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture have a number of stark differences -- not least of which are their backgrounds.

State Rep. Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate, is a seventh generation Floridian from a family of farmers. Democrat Nikki Fried, a public defender and medical-marijuana lobbyist, is from urban South Florida.

Florida's Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner says a second bank has terminated her campaign account because she supports medical marijuana.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN News

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed it found three invasive Oriental Fruit flies in farmlands south of Miami-Dade County. This species is labeled one of the most serious fruit fly pests in the world and lays eggs in host fruits.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.