Section 570.195, Florida Statutes 2001
570.195 Tobacco farmers; assistance.--
(1) In order to assist Florida tobacco farmers in reducing encumbered debt on stranded investment in equipment, the nonrecurring sum of $2.5 million is appropriated from the Department of Banking and Finance Tobacco Settlement Clearing Trust Fund to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the purchase at fair market value of equipment associated with agricultural production of tobacco from persons or entities that were using such equipment for production of tobacco between April 1 and October 1, 2000, on land within this state and sign a letter of intent to cease tobacco production upon the development and implementation of an alternative crop that would provide the same net revenue and proportional costs as tobacco. The department may adopt rules that, at a minimum, define and describe the equipment to be purchased under this section, prescribe criteria for identifying persons and entities who are eligible to have such equipment purchased by the department, and prescribe procedures to be followed for equipment purchases. From the funds appropriated by this section, the department is authorized to expend such sums as are reasonable and necessary to administer the program.
(2) Equipment purchased by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under this section may be resold by the Department of Management Services. However, no such equipment may be sold, leased, or conveyed to or for use by a person or entity who produces tobacco in this state or holds a quota for production of tobacco in this state. The Department of Management Services shall deposit proceeds of such sale, less reasonable administrative costs, in the General Inspection Trust Fund of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(3) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may use proceeds from the resale of equipment purchased under this section to continue purchasing equipment and to assist tobacco producers to seek out, experiment with, and develop diverse profitable enterprises and retain ownership of their land so that their farms can remain productive agricultural entities and provide ancillary environmental benefits.
History.--s. 7, ch. 2000-128.