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How Florida Public Policy and Business Can Embrace Raised Fields

One key provision of existing Florida law is material to the discussion about next generation agricultural practices in the era of sea level rise.

Section 163.3162 of the Florida Statutes states, in relevant part:

“The Legislature finds that agricultural production is a major contributor to the economy of the state; that agricultural lands constitute unique and irreplaceable resources of statewide importance; that the continuation of agricultural activities preserves the landscape and environmental resources of the state, contributes to the increase of tourism, and furthers the economic self-sufficiency of the people of the state; and that the encouragement, development, and improvement of agriculture will result in a general benefit to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state.”

Given projections of actual farm acreage loss in the coming years, especially in southeastern Miami-Dade County, Tallahassee’s declaration of public policy as it pertains to growing fields is vital to consider for our state's economic future.

If “agricultural lands constitute unique and irreplaceable resources,” we better get started in preserving them for the rest of this century. One vision is elevated landscapes.

If the improvement of agriculture will enhance the health, safety and welfare of Floridians and visitors, Tallahassee should hold hearings on what the foundations of farms will look like as salt water intrudes below the land and on the surface.

Florida is a global business leader in agriculture. Failure to plan for sustainable fields today will cede that position.

Sea level rise will not eliminate the central economic necessity of land used to grow and graze. Rather it drives the imperative that even our growth management and land development rules need to embrace the need for architectural and engineering solutions to adapt to SLR.

In short, let’s have a governmental discussion about raised field agriculture and technologies.

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