2004 Florida Statutes
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; functions, powers, and duties.
(1) To inquire into the needs of agriculture in the state and make appropriate recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature, except for those functions specifically assigned under state law to other state agencies.
(2) To perform all regulatory and inspection services relating to agriculture except agricultural education, demonstration, research, and those regulatory functions assigned by law to other state agencies. In doing this, the department may:
(a) Inspect for violations of and enforce all federal standards applicable to the responsibilities of the department, which were adopted for uniform application to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
(b) Enforce federal marketing orders identified in a cooperative agreement between the department and the United States Department of Agriculture.
(c) Apply generally accepted analytical technologies and validated methods in determining compliance with federal standards enforced pursuant to this subsection, statutes, and rules of the department.
(d) Impose a fine, as provided in s. 500.121, for a violation of a federal standard enforced pursuant to this subsection. In imposing any fine or sanction, whether authorized by this paragraph or by any other law, the department shall consider the degree and extent of harm caused by the violation, the cost of rectifying the damage, the monetary benefit to the violator, whether the violation was willful, and the violator's compliance record.
(3) To make investigations, conduct hearings, and make recommendations concerning all matters relating to the powers, duties, and functions of the department as provided by law.
(4) To cooperate with the United States Department of Agriculture and any other state or federal agency in any manner which may be helpful to agriculture in obtaining and disseminating production statistics and market and trade information concerning demand, supply, prevailing prices, and commercial movements of agricultural products and extent of products in storage. The department may compile, publish, and disseminate information and pertinent data on crops, livestock, poultry, and agricultural products and may provide matching funds with other agencies, local, state, or national, for the conduct of these services.
(5) To annually fix inspection and license fees and recording and service charges within maximum limits provided by law to pay the cost of the service performed, to pay the cost of maintenance of reasonable reserves for contingencies, including cost of depository, accounting, disbursement, auditing, and rental of quarters and facilities furnished by the state, and to pay compensation to fruit and vegetable inspectors for work in excess of 40 hours per week at the same rate of pay as received for normal work hours when compensatory time cannot be given as reimbursement for overtime work.
(6) To foster and encourage the standardizing, grading, inspection, labeling, handling, storage, and marketing of agricultural products; and, after investigation and public hearings, to cooperate with the United States Department of Agriculture, to establish and promulgate standard grades and other standard classifications of and for agricultural products.
(7) To extend in every practicable way the distribution and sale of Florida agricultural products throughout the markets of the world.
(8) To promote, in the interest of the producer, the distributor, and the consumer, the economical and efficient distribution of agricultural products of this state; and to cooperate with the Department of Commerce of the United States and any other department or agency of the federal or state government for this purpose.
(9) To obtain and furnish information: relating to the selection of shipping routes, adoption of shipping methods, or avoidance of delays in the transportation of agricultural products; or helpful in the solution of other transportation problems connected with the distribution of agricultural products.
(10) To act as adviser to producers and distributors, when requested, and to assist them in the economical and efficient distribution of their agricultural products and to encourage cooperative effort among producers to gain economical and efficient production of agricultural products.
(11) To foster and encourage cooperation between producers and distributors in the interest of the general public.
(12) To act as a mediator or arbitrator in any controversy or issue between producers and distributors of any agricultural products concerning the grade or classification of such products.
(13) To protect the agricultural and horticultural interests of the state; and, to that end, it shall enforce those functions, powers, and duties given to it in chapter 581 and all other laws relating thereto.
(14) To inspect apiaries for diseases inimical to bees and beekeeping and enforce the laws relating thereto.
(15) To protect the livestock interests of the state; and, to that end, it shall enforce those functions, powers, and duties given to it in chapter 585 and all other laws relating thereto.
(16) To enforce the state laws and rules relating to:
(a) Fruit and vegetable inspection and grading;
(b) Pesticide spray, residue inspection, and removal;
(c) Registration, labeling, inspection, and analysis of commercial stock feeds and commercial fertilizers;
(d) Classification, inspection, and sale of poultry and eggs;
(e) Registration, inspection, and analysis of gasolines and oils;
(f) Registration, labeling, inspection, and analysis of pesticides;
(g) Registration, labeling, inspection, germination testing, and sale of seeds, both common and certified;
(h) Weights, measures, and standards;
(i) Foods, as set forth in the Florida Food Safety Act;
(j) Inspection and certification of honey;
(k) Sale of liquid fuels;
(l) Licensing of dealers in agricultural products;
(m) Administration and enforcement of all regulatory legislation applying to milk and milk products, ice cream, and frozen desserts;
(n) Recordation and inspection of marks and brands of livestock; and
(o) All other regulatory laws relating to agriculture.
(17)(a) To receive and compile reports on all fruits, vegetables, and other farm products grown in the state, and publish them in a state press that will do so without cost;
(b) To obtain and disseminate information on carriers' rates;
(c) To collect information on additional market centers and their capacities;
(d) To keep and compile a statement of all shipments moving out of the state;
(e) To keep farmers and producers posted as to the exact conditions existing in the state and the markets of the country;
(f) To cooperate with the United States Government in establishing and maintaining a market news system;
(g) To issue bulletins or other information advising the best method for picking, packing, packaging, and distributing agricultural products and to study all conditions as affecting other states;
(h) To keep in touch with the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., to advise our people what crops to plant or not plant, what markets are overstocked, and through a system of cooperation to aid in development of agricultural interests and protection of Florida's producers;
(i) To devise such methods as will best carry forward this work, such as inspection of packages and other measures that conform to the marketing system of the Department of Agriculture in Washington;
(j) To publish or issue bulletins listing items for sale or exchange, or wanted by farmers; and
(k) To do all that can be done to bring relief to and aid in the marketing and distribution of Florida's products.
(18)(a) To instruct the industry in the standardization, grading, packing, processing, loading, refrigeration, routing, diversion, and distribution of farm products;
(b) To carry out research or cooperate with other state or federal agricultural agencies on research work in marketing;
(c) To provide any other information and assistance necessary to the efficient selling of farm products;
(d) To acquire suitable sites and erect necessary marketing facilities and properly equip, maintain, and operate them for the handling of all staple field crops, meats, fruits and vegetables, poultry and dairy products, and all farm and home products and for selling and loading livestock and other activities determined to be beneficial to the production or sale of agricultural products and to lease this space;
(e) To store or refrigerate any meats, vegetables, fruits, poultry, or dairy products; and
(f) To employ managers and other help as may be necessary to operate the plants and market products and to charge for these services in an amount sufficient to cover their costs.
(19) To protect the dairy interests of the state; and, to that end, it shall enforce those functions, powers, and duties given to it in chapters 502 and 503.
(20)(a) To stimulate, encourage, and foster the production and consumption of agricultural and agricultural business products;
(b) To conduct activities that may foster a better understanding and more efficient cooperation among producers, dealers, buyers, food editors, and the consuming public in the promotion and marketing of Florida's agricultural and agricultural business products; and
(c) To sponsor trade breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners and distribute promotional materials and favors in connection with meetings, conferences, and conventions of dealers, buyers, food editors, and merchandising executives that will assist in the promotion and marketing of Florida's agricultural and agricultural business products to the consuming public.
The department is authorized to receive and expend donations contributed by private persons for the purpose of covering costs associated with the above described activities.
(21) To declare an emergency when one exists in any matter pertaining to agriculture; to make, adopt, and promulgate rules and issue orders which will be effective during the term of the emergency; and to issue or require to be issued food safety information, pertaining to the emergency, that is based on reliable scientific facts and reliable scientific data. When the Commissioner of Agriculture has declared an agricultural emergency, no county or municipal ordinance relating to any action intended to end the emergency shall be enforced within a county or municipality with respect to such action taken by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during the agricultural emergency.
(22) To hold hearings, administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and documents, and take testimony in all matters relating to the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the department. Upon the failure or refusal of any witness to obey any subpoena, the department may petition the circuit court having jurisdiction in the county within which the seat of government is located; and, upon proper showing, the court shall enter an order compelling the witness to appear and testify or produce documentary evidence. The failure to obey the order of the court is punishable as a contempt of court.
(24) To promulgate rules pertaining to the inspection of quality, the truthful and honest branding of each package shipped, and the prohibiting of any shipper having the benefit of shipping through the facilities of the department who does not strictly observe and obey such rules in the preparation, packing, and shipping of his or her agricultural products.
(25) With the approval of a majority of the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, to sell, exchange, convey, or otherwise dispose of any real property owned or held by it when, in its judgment, the property is not needed for the purpose for which the property was held and cannot be put to any other beneficial use by the department. A deed to any real property owned or held by the department, duly executed by the department and witnessed by a majority of the board of trustees, is sufficient to convey all the right, title, and interest of the department or of the state in and to the property described.
(26) To sell, exchange, convey, or otherwise dispose of any personal property and lease any real property owned or held by the department when, in its judgment, the property is not needed for the purpose for which the property was held and cannot be put to any other beneficial use by the department; and to seek, locate, receive, acquire, collect, preserve, exchange, sell, shelter, and exhibit artifacts, relics, and historic items reflective of the history of Florida agriculture.
(27) To incur expenses for membership dues in the national and southern associations of state departments of agriculture and other organizations affiliated with agriculture and for presentment of plaques and framed certificates for outstanding service.
(28) For pollution control purposes, to regulate open burning connected with rural land-clearing, agricultural, or forestry operations, except fires for cold or frost protection.
(29) To advance funds monthly to career service employees to be used for the purchase of official state samples for state examination. Each monthly advance shall be in an amount equal to one-twelfth of the actual expenses paid the position for samples in the previous fiscal year or, in the case of a new position, one-twelfth of the expenses paid for samples of a similar classification in the previous fiscal year; however, in the event of unusual circumstances, such advances may be increased for a period not to exceed 60 days. Advances shall be granted only to career service employees who have executed a proper power of attorney with the department to ensure the collection of such advances if not timely repaid.
(30) In conjunction with its inspection duties under chapters 487, 525, and 576, to notify the Department of Environmental Protection of any tank subject to the registration requirements of chapter 17-61, Florida Administrative Code, for which proof of valid registration is not displayed on the tank, on the dispensing or measuring device connected to it, or, where appropriate, in the office or kiosk of the facility where the tank is located.
(31) To coordinate its programs to maximize the efficient and strategic use of its resources and to provide information to the consuming public.
(32) To receive and accept grants, gifts, and donations to further the mission of the department, except as provided in s. 112.3148
(33) To assist local volunteer and nonprofit organizations in soliciting, collecting, packaging, or delivering surplus fresh fruit and vegetables for distribution in accordance with s. 570.0725 The department also may coordinate the development of food recovery programs in the production areas of the state using local volunteer and nonprofit organizations.
(34) To adopt policies creating, and providing for the operation of, an employees' benefit fund. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 273, the department may deposit moneys received from the disposition of state-owned tangible personal property, specifically livestock maintained and located at the Doyle E. Conner Agricultural Complex, in the employees' benefit fund.
(35) Under emergency conditions, to authorize the purchase of supplemental nutritional food and drink items, provide meals when personnel cannot leave an emergency incident location, and set temporary meal expenditure limits for employees engaged in physical activity for prolonged periods of time in excess of the rate established by s. 112.061(6), but not to exceed $50 per day.
(36) If the department, by its own inquiry or as a result of complaints, has reason to believe that a violation of the laws of the state relating to consumer protection has occurred or is occurring, to conduct an investigation, subpoena witnesses and evidence, and administer oaths and affirmations. If, as a result of the investigation, the department has reason to believe a violation of chapter 501 has occurred, the department with the coordination of the Department of Legal Affairs and any state attorney, if the violation has occurred or is occurring within her or his judicial circuit, shall have the authority to bring an action in accordance with the provisions of chapter 501.
(37) If the department, by its own inquiry or as a result of complaints, has reason to believe that a violation of the laws of the state relating to consumer protection has occurred or is occurring, that the interests of the consumers of this state have been damaged or are being damaged, or that the public health, safety, or welfare is endangered or is likely to be endangered by any consumer product or service, to commence legal proceedings in circuit court to enjoin the act or practice or the sale of the product or service and may seek appropriate relief on behalf of consumers. Upon application by the department, a hearing shall be held within 3 days after the commencement of the proceedings.
(38) To repair or build structures, from existing appropriations authority, notwithstanding chapters 216 and 255, not to exceed a cost of $250,000 per structure. These structures must meet all applicable building codes.
(39) To adopt by rule requirements governing aircraft used for the aerial application of pesticides, fertilizers, or seed, including requirements for recordkeeping, annual aircraft registration, secure storage when not in use, area-of-application information, and reporting any sale, lease, purchase, rental, or transfer of such aircraft to another person.
(40) To adopt by rule requirements governing the aerial applicator's secure storage of pesticides and fertilizers. Except as provided in chapters 373, 376, and 403, regulation of the use of pesticides and fertilizers by aerial applicators is expressly preempted to the department.
History.--s. 1, ch. 59-54; s. 1, ch. 61-407; s. 1, ch. 67-77; ss. 14, 27, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-348; s. 1, ch. 71-340; s. 4, ch. 77-114; s. 1, ch. 77-216; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 1, ch. 78-396; s. 3, ch. 84-72; s. 32, ch. 86-159; s. 1, ch. 87-78; s. 2, ch. 88-341; s. 1, ch. 90-323; s. 2, ch. 92-4; s. 9, ch. 92-151; s. 6, ch. 92-291; s. 2, ch. 93-169; s. 1, ch. 94-234; s. 12, ch. 94-335; s. 462, ch. 94-356; s. 35, ch. 97-98; s. 885, ch. 97-103; s. 187, ch. 98-200; s. 6, ch. 98-396; s. 23, ch. 2000-308; s. 22, ch. 2001-279; s. 2, ch. 2001-360; s. 29, ch. 2002-295; s. 13, ch. 2002-404.
Note.--Former ss. 570.35, 570.39, 570.08.