August 19, 2016


Mailbag for Aug. 19: Don't buy land; supporting Goss

With so much division in our country, it was encouraging to see people of all backgrounds coming together to support the Glades communities last week at the New Harvest Church in Clewiston.  At our meeting, we discussed some of the many solutions to address Lake Okeechobeeís water quality and quantity challenges and also the concerning proposals coming from environmental activists that would result in a loss of farmland for our region. As we learned, these calls to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee are not backed by science and are driven by activists that have an anti-farming and anti-business agenda.

As a third generation family farm owner, this issue is personal to me. I shared with residents how farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area are subject to strict requirements for reducing pollution from the water that flows onto our farms. I brought a bottle of Perrier with me to show that even the water we drink isnít as clean as the water that flows off our farms and into the Everglades. In fact, putting this bottle of Perrier into the Everglades would violate the 10 parts per billion standard that more than 90 percent of water in the Everglades now meets and exceeds.

Also in attendance were pastors from local churches and other community leaders. All of us expressed concerns about the hateful language coming from activists that are trying to demonize farmers instead of working together to find realistic, science-based solutions.

Special thanks to community leaders including Hendry County Commissioners Janet Taylor and Karson Turner, representatives from the South Florida Water Management District as well as Congressman Alcee Hastings for attending.  The food, refreshments, fellowship and factual information were welcomed by the community.

-Ardis Hammock, Clewiston