THE ISSUE: Commissioner of agriculture and community services.
OUR OPINION: Retain Adam Putnam.
The Florida Constitution says the “commissioner of agriculture shall have supervision of matters pertaining to agriculture except as otherwise provided by law.” Over the years, law has added to the responsibilities of that office. Now, the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services is responsible for supporting and promoting Florida agriculture, protecting the environment, safeguarding consumers and ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of food. As the state’s Fresh From Florida website notes, “our programs and activities are so varied and extensive, they touch the life of just about every Floridian.”
As one of three constitutionally elected state executives in the Florida Cabinet, the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services is an important voice for Florida ag business as well as citizens.
Adam Putnam is completing his first term as commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. His background prepared him well: he’s a fifth-generation cattle rancher and citrus grower from central Florida with a degree in food and resource economics. Putnam served as a member of the Florida House, where he chaired the House Agriculture Committee, before spending 10 years in the U.S. Congress.
He’s a strong advocate for farmers, but at the same time advocates strong stewardship of Florida’s waters. He supports Everglades cleanup and encourages innovative thinking on water issues. He travels to promote Florida agriculture and has come out in favor of broadening the state’s energy mix to include more renewable resources. Making the connection between children’s performance in school and good nutrition, Putnam worked successfully to transfer direction of school nutrition policies from the Department of Education to his department, to support inclusion of more fruits and vegetables on school menus. He supported efforts in the Legislature to control predatory practices by nonprofit fundraising groups.
Putnam’s opponent, Thad Hamilton, a veteran and retired federal employee, supports environmentally friendly policies, but Hamilton doesn’t have the background and track record needed for this important post, or the wherewithal to make things happen.
We recommend a vote for Adam Putnam for Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.