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New Bills Seek to Modernize Tax Exempt Purchases for Farmers

The proposed legislation would establish an official, state-issued card in place of the current paperwork-heavy process.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Two bills filed Wednesday would simplify the process by which farmers can make sales-tax-exempt purchases on agricultural materials.

The proposals seek to create a Florida Farm Tax Exempt Agricultural Materials (TEAM) card in place of the current practice where farmers are required to submit paperwork for every tax-exempt purchase of agricultural materials.

“The Florida Farm TEAM Card will help to alleviate burdens felt by farmers and agricultural retailers in our state, and I applaud Senator Collins and Representative Alvarez for championing this commonsense legislation,” Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson stated in a press release. “When farmers succeed, we all succeed, which is why we need to support our farmers and take any weight off their backs that we can.”

Under the current process, Florida farmers are reportedly traveling to neighboring states to offer a simpler process for similar programs.

“It is beyond time that Florida Agriculture gets recognized for their importance and impact on our State and the Nation as a whole,” said Rep. Danny Alvarez (R-Tampa), who sponsored HB 1279. “Reducing barriers to their economic success through efforts like making the Florida Farm TEAM Card a reality is not only good for the consumer but it’s smart business for our farmers and agriculture retailers across the State.”

Sen. Jay Collins (R-Tampa), who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, sponsored SB 1164.

“I am proud to introduce this piece of legislation that will take some burden off of Florida’s farmers by modernizing the current and outdated process for agricultural producers to claim existing sales-tax exemptions,” Collins said.

The Florida Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest agricultural organization, applauded the effort to “modernize and streamline our process."

“With rising input costs, growing and producing the food for our nation becomes more and more challenging,” the organization’s president Jeb Smith stated. “Florida farmers and ranchers appreciate any help that will allow us to stay in business, keep our grocery shelves stocked and keep Florida agriculture thriving.”