Flashback 1968: Communication vital to agriculture

 

From the Harvester, November 1968 –

The importance of letters and contacts with legislators was vividly described by State Sen. Jerry Thomas, chairman of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, in a speech at the recent FFVA convention

Thomas told of agricultural bills vetoed by Gov. Claude Kirk including the “essential appropriations supplement for IFAS” (the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences). http://ifas.ufl.edu/

“But there’s always another day, another challenge,” he said. “Some of us took to the road when the ’67 session adjourned and we told the citizens of Florida the true story.

“Our farmers became an enlightened and concerned citizenry. They began to react to the dangerous prospects of a governor who was not aware of the economic importance of agriculture to Florida …”

Thomas said between sessions “this minority group heard from agriculture loud and clear. And when we next met, agriculture prevailed,” he said.

“Appropriations for IFAS that had been vetoed on three occasions were suddenly allowed to become law by the governor. Why? The primary reason is that the importance of the IFAS story had reached the attention of concerned citizens and agriculturalists who contacted their legislators on a personal basis, and the Republican legislators were then stimulated to take their first stand against one of the governor’s vetoes for Florida’s number one business.

“They agreed to join with Democrats in overriding the governor if he again vetoed this critical bill. In the face of having his first veto overridden, he allowed the legislation to become law without his signature.

“What is materially significant is the fact that this urban Legislature answered the call of IFAS and the needs of agriculture in Florida,” Thomas said.

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