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January 2024 President's Message

As this year’s legislative session nears, my optimism grows that we’re on the right track and our story of how “Cows Keep Florida Green” is resonating. We’ve been working hard in Tallahassee with our Director of Governmental Affairs, Sam Ard, alongside our Cows Keep Florida Green partners laying the foundation for a successful session where we hope to have Rural and Family Lands not only fully funded, but hopefully with re-occurring funds. We’ve had visits with key leadership in the state House and Senate along with Governor DeSantis’ staff. We certainly have a friend in Commissioner Wilton Simpson, and enjoy a great working relationship with him and his staff as well. We have received the first ruling we requested from the Florida Department of Revenue regarding the cattle containment fence tax exemption and many of the items we all purchase annually for cattle containment were approved and now exempt from taxation. This is a

huge win for the Florida Cattle Industry and will save our members millions of dollars annually! If you’ve ever waffled on why you should be a member of the Fla. Cattleman’s Association, or questioned if your dues were worth it, this alone should show you the tremendous value the Association brings to the table. There’s no end to what we can accomplish if we continue to work together and grow our Association membership. I want to encourage all of our members to “Just Ask” a friend or neighbor to join FCA and use the fence tax exemption as an example of why and what the value of supporting and being a member of FCA can do for them and their family.

Last month, for the first time in over 25 years, we held an FCA quarterly in the central time zone of the Florida Panhandle. It was hosted by the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association and UF/IFAS NFREC. Attendees were able to tour the facilities at UF’s NFREC Marianna and hear from some of best and brightest researchers in our industry. It’s great to see the results of many years of lobbying efforts for the UF/IFAS budget in action. Those funds support our research stations around the state and help us improve our efficiencies and our sustainability so we can continue to stay economically viable in our ever evolving industry. Special thanks to FCA District One representative Billy Bigham, for being the point man for the steak-out and rallying members to show up. We had over 250 attendees at the steak-out and it was a standout event. We also had great attendance for our committee meetings. I’d like to thank all of our allied members that sponsored this event, as well as each and every person that made it the perfect evening. I hope to see everyone in Tallahassee at the Legislative Quarterly. I guarantee you’re not gonna want to miss this one.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and as always, Cows Keep Florida Green!

God Bless,

Pat Durden

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