2022 Florida Legislative Session & Ag HB 901: Roadside Signage

Groves Law here to provide an update on the January 2022 legislative session for the farm and ag industry. A major House Bill (HB) to know about is HB 901: Fresh from Florida Roadside Farm Stand Signage. Let’s dive in to what it means for agribusinesses and their roadside stands.

The Basics of HB 901

HB 901 creates new statute, Fla. Stat. 570.851, which would allow roadside stands to take part in the Fresh from Florida certified signage program. Moreover, the Department of Agriculture Commissioner could designate any certified roadside stand a “state tourist attraction.” The primary sponsor of the bill is Homestead Democrat Representative Kevin D. Chambliss, along with Senator Tina Polsky, Boca Raton Democrat, pushing a sister bill in the Senate. The pair seem to want to boost the agricultural economy in South Florida.

Fresh from Florida

If you’re part of the ag industry, or taken a close look around your local supermarket, you likely already have some idea of what Fresh from Florida is. It’s a Department of Agriculture sponsored-program that the legislature established over thirty years ago. It’s essentially a marketing and networking membership that provides trade leads and guidance, and reimburses 50% of print ad costs (max $1,500) and vehicle wraps up to $500. For this statute, an Advisory Council of twelve people will develop uniform signage which must include a Fresh from Florida logo and emblem.

How to Qualify

To be considered a roadside stand, you have to qualify under Fla. Stat. 823.14(3). Which means you must market farm products and be on a farm. A farm in this case includes the ” land, buildings, support facilities, machinery, and other appurtenances used in the production of farm or aquaculture products,” and a farm product is any “animal or insect useful to humans and includes, but is not limited to, any product derived therefrom.”

The new statute also provides additional requirements: the farm products have to be “produced on premises,” the stand must be open a minimum of 4 days per week, 10 months of the year, the farm must have a “growing area” of 87,120 sq. ft., offer tours of the “growing area” and “[d]isplay permanent signage on the premises specifying the times for the tours and hours of operation of the agricultural facility.”

Interestingly, the bill contains a restriction. Agricultural facilities like wineries or distilleries that do not grow their own products on-site do not qualify.

The Process

Any interested operator would apply to the Department of Agriculture to register as a certified roadside farm stand and pay some corresponding fees. If you’re approved, you can pay the Department of Transportation to place your signage on certain highways and roads.

We’ll keep you updated as the bill passes through the House.

Questions about HB 901? Let’s chat. Contact us at contact@groveslaw.ag to schedule a consultation.

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Kara Groves

After earning her law degree from University of Florida Levin College of Law and working as a tort defense litigator, Kara is settling down and bought some acreage out in Mount Dora. She has returned to her sustainable, regulatory background to help farmers and locally-focused businesses innovate and capitalize on direct-to-consumer movements across the state. In her off time, Kara is an avid gardener and cook. You’ll often find her in downtown Mount Dora adding to her plant collection or taking client meetings in the local brewery and marketplace.

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