After tough veto, Wilton Simpson uses limited conservation money to preserve more than 13,000 farm acres By Danny McAuliffe, Florida Politics

Posted on September 18, 2023

It was a cruel summer for the preservation program.

A unique land-rights purchasing program is preserving parcels across the Sunshine State, despite suffering a setback during the 2023 Legislative Session.

Following Florida Cabinet approval, Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson announced a pair of acquisitions by the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which had a rough time in Tallahassee earlier this year when Gov. Ron DeSantis used his line-item veto power to take away $100 million that the Legislature put toward the program.

Despite the veto, there appears a cordial atmosphere between DeSantis and Simpson. Simpson, a Republican endorsed by DeSantis during the 2022 election, thanked the Governor and the rest of the Cabinet in a statement.

“I appreciate Governor DeSantis and my fellow Cabinet members for their support of this program and the preservation of these critically important lands,” Simpson said.

Simpson had harsher words following the June veto, when he said publicly that there was “no conceivable reason to target agriculture” when the state had robust fiscal reserves.

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