Ag News Today
Owner - Stephanie Farmer
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go to Florida 4-H and FFA Supporters for more up to date info and posts from
4-H and FFA Supporters around the State with events, accomplishments etc.
Thank you card made by Trish Howard for thanking Legislators
or cut and paste https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iGELELHkegqQkTfDVq_apvJPRjKiGwnL/view
2018 BUDGET SUMMARY AND HISTORY.
Note; I posted this on my page Florida 4-H and FFA Supporters on Facebook
First I want to thank ALL supporters for ACTING and not just reading these 9 months..without YOU 4-H would have received nothing! Here is proof...
As you will see..this was a VERY tough budget year for IFAS. Tropical Aquaculture Lab requested $778,987 - they got ZERO. IFAS Workload requested $3,705,379- they got ZERO, Infrastructure for Zika Research requested $2,500,000 plus- they got ZERO,Geomatics requested $636,120 - they got ZERO, Horticulture/PIE requested $1,450,000 - they got ZERO, Florida Ag Initiative requested $125,000 - they got ZERO, Vet medical lab requested $2,000,000 - they got ZERO, Tropical Research and Education Center requested $8,886 545 and $2,500,000 - they got ZERO, Florida 4-H requested $1 million - and got $500,000. Seeing these facts should open ALL supporters eyes to what a battle this was and why when the call was made to write, call, email, go visit...was truly a plea of need and thankfully YOU responded otherwise we would have been zero too.
How close did 4-H come to zero? On 3 14 2018 the Appropriations Committees approved the budget to go to Legislature. Literally that night Senator Denise Grimsley was reviewing and noticed that 4-H that had been their earlier in the day had been struck out to zero. Around the same time that night Representative Lawrence McClure was alerted that 4-H had been struck out. Amazing how God works..alerting a Senator and a Representative. They both rolled up their sleeves and went into extra overtime work for 4-H. They went to bed not knowing if their last minute efforts worked. The next morning - their efforts had paid off for 4-H and it was back on and announced with other tweaks to the final draft at 10 Am 3 15 2018.
So, what is going on? 4-H is necessary but so is IFAS research and education. I think it all started with a shift in thinking about 10 years ago. Back then there was a thought going around Florida that ag was a dying industry. I broke a story about that issue back then when I wrote for Farm & Ranch News - a now retired publication. Extension and 4-H offices were facing closure all over the State, FFA was seeing programs closed - Legislators who understood the importance of ag to Florida (an over $ 2 billion industry and 2nd largest economic generator for Florida) scrambled with remedies while I and other supporters fought to keep doors open and funding viable. The battle lasted a couple years and after supporters were exhausted and the dust settled - 4-H, FFA and IFAS were safe once more. After seeing what happened to IFAS and the battle for 4-H and FFA I am afraid we are in a time of disconnect again.
Anyhow for about 8 years we had "quiet". Until May 2017 when the Governor put 4-H and a variety of IFAS agendas on his line item veto list. I'll never forget when Rhonda Burnette a long time 4-H club leader called me. She told me what was going on...I thought I was "retired" from this type of battle and was shocked. I said a prayer, dusted off my contacts and went to work. When my boss George Parker retired Farm & Ranch News a year or so prior I had told him I was starting Ag News Today just in case I was needed again as I had many contacts that needed not be lost. George had taught me a lot and we didn't want those lessons learned lost. So, I would cover a few events from time to time but focused on helping my Dad care for my Mom who was battling dementia. My words ended up being a prophetic statement.
My first outreach thanks to Rhonda Burnett alerting me that 4-H in trouble was via my personal Facebook page where many of my "old" contacts were. Stacey Warden a 4-H leader in Panhandle I had never met read one of my shared original posts. She offered to take youth up to meet me and we went. Others met us like Angela Calhoun Tinker and her 4-H crew. Came up and we walked the halls while supporters like YOU wrote, called and emailed.
Senator Denise Grimsley and Kelli Whipple Stargel submitted a line item veto override when the Governor DID line item veto $1 million in 4-H funding that had been recurring since 2008! I will never forget being in Tallahassee and sitting in the office of Senator Denise Grimsley office after their veto override was shut down by the Legislature. This lady showed this was not politics to her...this was youth..she was truly deeply disappointed. I saw this lady was different...she really cared from the heart. We knew that the battle had to continue.
Times had changed from phone calls and emails about 10 years ago to social media. Thus Florida 4-H and FFA Supporters on FB was developed. Stacey Warden my new friend and I together with Kelly Davis Strausbaugh a former Florida Cattlemen Sweetheart who fought with me when she was a teen those many years ago, developed this page that today has over 3,500 members not counting those that come and "visit". The Google analytics are amazing as to how many we are actually reaching. We even have Legislators some who are members and some who just visit, who keep up with our reactions to not only funding issues but also to see in real time what 4-H and FFA are doing around the State.
Graciously, UF and Dr Jack Payne worked things out to help 4-H with one time dollars in hopes that in the 2018 budget 4-H would get the funding back. To them we are truly greatful.
As I traveled and brainstormed with Legislators I was told we needed to go up in the fall,write letters, call etc.. as would be a tough budget year as that is when discussions start. YOU supporters responded very positively and very strongly..making the 4-H voice heard around the State, meeting me in Tallahassee all making sure it was known that we needed the $1 million back.
We made another trip to Tallahassee in November where officers got to speak in front of Ag appropriations and meet with the Governor's aide. If nothing else what an educational experience for these youth.
Because of YOUR efforts 4-H got put on the the Governor's proposed budget he sent out while the 4-H officers and I were up there in November. YOU were heard!
But then the Legislature kicked in. They had to actually put it on the budget for this to happen. Senator Denise Grimsley is the ONLY Legislator who stepped forward and put 4-H AND FFA on the budget. With the new rules if 4-H and FFA were not on either the Senate and/or House budget before budget conference aka discussions..neither would have been funded. No one on the House side put 4-H or FFA on their budget! Both would have been dead in the water. She was even told by some Legislators ..why put 4-H on there...it will be voted anyhow...Senator Grimsley's response was...at least give them a chance! Senator Denise Grimsley truly was instrumental in helping 4-H and FFA. To her we are truly grateful.
4-H Day at the Capital came. Over 800 4-Hers from all over the State from the Panhandle to Miami attended. A special meeting was set up to meet the Governor with a variety of 4-Hers from all walks of life was set up. Unfortunately the Governor could not come as he was at a funeral for the youth who lost their lives in the shooting but his aide still met with us.
But t the battle that had been brewing continued to ensue to get 4-H ON the final budget. Representative James James W. Grant understood the need for 4-H to be on the House side of the budget and fought hard..Representative Lawrence McClure a freshman Representative starting in January understood the need and together they fought for 4-H. ..it was a very tough battle and as you saw in the beginning of my "story".. it literally went down to the night time hour for Florida 4-H. The numbers ended up being $500,000 instead of $1 million but at this point as I knew the numbers that IFAS was getting for their programs, I was grateful. A Legislator called and asked me if less than $1 million would be ok..but looked like the best they could do. I said yes it is better than zero, which was the other option I was given...as again in the background I was seeing IFAS struggle as a whole. The total budget was being re worked to pay for school safety ...over $400 million which is needed..But, you see, by this time YOU the supporters had caught the ears of Legislators around the State. YOU had laid a foundation of support with 9 months of contacts and your voice was getting louder and louder making a huge difference in positive decisions made for 4-H through your prolonged activity ranging 9 long months.
Our last battle was to make sure Governor Rick Scott did not line item veto 4-H. You were loud ...then I learned we needed to be louder and you were and very positively so! When the smoke settled we had won! No it wasn't $1 million but was $500,000...and when you look at how IFAS did above, it adds to how blessed we are and reiterates how that without YOU 4-H would have been zero
So where do we go from here?
IFAS took a major hit. 4-H got half. There will be changes. What kind I do not know. But, I will let you know as I hear.
For now...please, please send Thank you cards to Legislators and the Governor...let's NOT be known for asking and not being thankful. Trisha Lurtz Howard our new team member made a beautiful thank you card - I will post on agnewstoday.com if you want to mail it or just email your local Legislators plus the ones listed below. I know that Em Smith had the attendees to the 4-H ExecutiveBoard Floridafourh meeting send letters too. Good educational lesson to them as well. Make sure you thank not only the ones below but your LOCAL Legislators too!
My team and I are going to take a break...we are exhausted while slowly brainstorming for next year as the dollars we got were NOT recurring.
OUR NEW GOAL is 4-H get not just $1 million back but that they be RECURRING! As they were since 2008..We should NOT have to fight like this year after year for a positive youth development program like 4-H..
Looking back thru time to now our battle is more than 4-H ..it is also a need to bring awareness that agriculture is important. Agriculture research is necessary to keep it strong and viable. As our culture becomes more and more urbanized...they are forgetting the importance of ag...WE need to revitalize educating why 4-H, FFA, agriculture and agriculture research along with IFAS and it's positive outreach are necessary for Florida.
Thanks again everyone..
REMEMBER THANK It is NOT right to ask and not be thankful in the end
YOUR LOCAL LEGISLATORS FOR HELPING 4-H PLUS THESE LISTED BELOW
Find your Local https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
But also thank these
Governor Rick Scott https://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/
Email Senators...direct email link on left of each page
1. Senate President Negron https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s25
2. Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s5
3. Speaker of the House Corcoran
4. House Appropriations Chair Carlos Trujillo
1. Senator Denise Grimsley https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s26
2. Representative James Grant http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4504&LegislativeTermId=87
3. Representative Lawrence Mc Clure http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4686&LegislativeTermId=87
4. Senator Kelli Stargel https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s22
It's Official We WON!
4 PM update Friday 3 16 2018
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT JUST SIGNED THE BUDGET!
THANK YOU SUPPORTERS OF 4-H!
In fact, earlier this morning Senator Denise Grimsley had talked to Governor Rick Scott and she told me, " THE BUDGET WILL HAVE 4-H ! THE GOVERNOR SAID NO LINE ITEM VETO!!!!"
YOU DID IT SUPPORTERS! I was told last year and into this year that we were attempting the impossible that once something is line item vetoed the dollars never come back....4-H is blessed with ACTIVE SUPPORTERS LIKE YOU! We will be doing a shout out to send thank you cards to Legislators and the Governor, as it is not right to ask and not say thank you.
While it is not the $ 1 million 4-H needed - in this tough economic climate and after you read UF/IFAS lobbist report below...$500,000 is a blessing. While there will be an impact to Florida 4-H..it won't be as severe without supporters like YOU
I will admit that while we are blessed with $500,000 and not zero these are not recurring dollars.We will have to fight again in 2019 budget, but with a new theme..$1 million recurring dollars so we don't have to fight year after year...but for now..let's take a moment and tell God thank you for his guiding hand and help and everyone be thankful!
And AGAIN this would NOT have happened without all your ACTIVE calls, visits to Tallahassee, visits to local Legislative offices, emails, letters, stopping Legislators in stores etc..It's been a long 9 months of fighting.
Thank you for being active supporters
March 9 2018 latest news from Mary Ann Gosa Hooks UF/ IFAS lobbyist. This report shows how blessed Florida 4-H is right now to even make it onto the budget! And clearly states 4-H battle not done as supporters convince Governor not to line item veto 4-H.
March 9, 2018 Week 9
The budget conference process has officially ended, a budget bill has been released, and the legislature will vote on it Sunday. It wasn’t a very good year for IFAS.
The legislators who sponsored our budget requests worked hard for us and were successful in getting some funding for most of our projects in the budget proposals. But, all of the funding for our legislative budget requests was zeroed out of the budget report Wednesday night.
Senator Denise Grimsley and Representative Lawrence McClure went to leadership late Wednesday night and fought to get 4-H money put back in the budget. Fortunately, they were able to get $500,000 of non-recurring funding put back in the budget bill.
This demonstrates just how critical it is to have relationships with people who can and will go to the mat for IFAS at the 11th hour.
So, what happened? Why weren’t we able to get the funding back for these successful programs that are important to our stakeholders? There were so many things that went wrong this session that we had absolutely no control over. I cannot list them all but, the ones I can include: a large bill for hurricane damage, a desperate need for funding for school safety, a growing Medicaid expense and sluggish corporate taxes.
Our next hurdle will be surviving the veto process. We have been working extensively with the Governor’s budget staff, but we need to let them know that our funding is important to a many.
Nonetheless, IFAS lives to fight another day. Next year, we will start all over with a hopefully healthier budget. We will ask the legislature for the resources to maintain and grow the projects that serve this state so well. Included in our objectives will be to ask for 4-H funds again as the money we will receive next year will not recur the following year.
Despite the outcome, we want you to know how much we appreciate all of you who supported IFAS this session. Grassroots makes a difference and we really needed you this year. You came through and, as always, we are much better for it.
Mary Ann Hooks
Director Governmental Affairs UF/IFAS
Thank you for supporting not just in words but in action :-)
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