Title: FDACS Organizational Overview
From the cotton and peanut fields of the Panhandle...
Down through the pine forests to the citrus belt...
Beneath the waves of the coastal waters...
Across the vast cattle ranches...
To the winter vegetable fields of the South ...
Florida's agricultural community has an immense range of productivity, growing more than 280 commodities on a commercial scale. This results in an overall economic impact estimated at nearly 100 billion dollars annually. Overseeing this state's important agriculture industry is just one of the many responsibilities of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Made up of 13 separate divisions, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state's largest agency under a Cabinet official and one of the nation's biggest departments of agriculture. Over 3,000 employees, located in all 67 counties, see to it that food and other products are safe, meet proper standards, and are accurately weighed, measured, and labeled. Because of these responsibilities, this Department has more continuous and meaningful impact on the daily lives of individual citizens than any other state agency of government.
Heading the Department is Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson. As a state constitutional officer, the Commissioner shares many responsibilities with the Governor and other Cabinet members. These responsibilities include natural resources and state law enforcement.
In addition to his role as a Cabinet officer, the Commissioner also oversees the operation of the Florida State Fair in Tampa, and appoints members to its board.
Reporting directly to the commissioner are the Assistant Commissioner, Inspector General, the Agricultural Emergency Preparedness Director, and the Agricultural Natural Resources Assessment and Management Director.
The Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture serves as the Chief of Staff and directs the overall daily operation of the Department.
The Office of the Inspector General conducts financial, compliance and regulatory audits, as well as internal investigations.
The Office of Agricultural Emergency Preparedness helps protect Florida’s citizens in regard to biological, food security, and domestic security issues. The office coordinates Department preparedness and activities by serving as liaison between divisions, offices, and programs. The office also coordinates with local, state and federal agencies, private and government laboratories, and agriculture- and food-related industries.
The Agricultural Natural Resources Assessment and Management Director develops and implements agricultural natural resource policies and programs, particularly those related to future agricultural sustainability.
The Commissioner's staff meets regularly with the various divisions and offices to carry out the department's wide range of programs.
The Office of Legislative Affairs presents recommendations for legislation, and represents the Department before the Florida Legislature.
The Cabinet Affairs office keeps the Commissioner abreast of Cabinet issues and addresses public concerns by participating in biweekly Cabinet meetings. It also fosters effective relations with local, state and federal entities.
A vital link between the Commissioner and the public, the Office of Executive Programs provides input and advice from more than 50 advisory councils and groups throughout the state.
The Office of Public Information responds to media requests about the Department, conducts press conferences, and prepares speeches and letters.
The Federal/State Relations office develops and maintains contacts with federal agencies in all programs where the Department interfaces with the federal government. This office also deals with international trade issues.
The Office of Agricultural Water Policy deals with water policy issues to ensure the availability of an adequate supply and quality of water for the production of agricultural products. The office also provides assistance to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in carrying out conservation activities, and providing improved local delivery of services to agricultural producers.
The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement enforces state and federal commerce regulations at Florida's agricultural interdiction stations. Its sworn officers also protect the citizens of Florida by investigating such diverse crimes as motor vehicle repair fraud, telemarketing scams, citrus fraud and livestock theft.
The Office of the General Counsel is involved in all litigation concerning the Department, including trials and appeals. It also reviews contracts, proposes legislation, drafts departmental rules, and provides legal advice to the various divisions.
The Office of Policy and Budget is responsible for developing policy related to the Department’s overall budget, including new budget issues and analyses of legislation and fiscal impact.
The diversity of the Department's operations is reflected in the functions of its 13 divisions:
The Division of Administration handles the internal operations of the Department. These functions include budgeting, purchasing, payroll, information technology and facilities management. It also manages human resources through recruitment, training and other employee functions.
To protect the health of the state's livestock herds, the Division of Animal Industry operates a number of inspection and monitoring programs. It is the Division's job to prevent, control and eradicate the transmittable diseases that can endanger livestock.
Ensuring that Florida has a safe, wholesome, and properly labeled food supply is the duty of the Division of Food Safety. The division conducts onsite inspections of retail grocery stores, food processing plants, and storage facilities. By analyzing food samples, the division protects consumers by identifying potentially harmful foods and preventing their sale to the public.
Although all 13 divisions have functions affecting consumers, the Division of Consumer Services is the designated clearinghouse for all complaints coming to the state level. Over 500,000 inquiries are received annually concerning problems such as auto repair fraud, telemarketing scams, and charitable contributions. The Division of Consumer Services also regulates business enterprises, such as health studios and travel related service providers. This division provides anti fraud information to consumers, and investigates deceptive trade practices.
More than 300 dairy farms, processing plants, distribution centers and related facilities are located throughout the state. Inspecting these operations -- as well as retail outlets is the job of the Division of Dairy Industry. This division makes sure that milk, ice cream, and other dairy products are safe, meet national Grade A standards, are accurately dated for shelf life, and are certified for interstate transportation and sale.
Although preventing and fighting wildfires are its more recognizable duties, the Division of Forestry has several roles, including managing more than 30 state forests and other public lands. The division works with timber companies and landowners to manage Florida's timber resources and demonstrate the value of good economical and environmental stewardship. Another important program helps youthful offenders become productive citizens by teaching natural resource related skills.
The United States receives much of its fresh winter fruits and vegetables from Florida. The Division of Fruit and Vegetables continuously inspects commodities like tomatoes, peanuts, and citrus to see that they are free from contamination and meet state and federal standards of quality. The division carries out its work in processing plants, at markets, and in retail outlets, including roadside stands.
Tropical fish, alligators, catfish, oysters Florida cultivates a greater variety of aquacultural plants and animals than any other state. The Division of Aquaculture safeguards the consumer by monitoring, regulating and inspecting nurseries and hatcheries for safe operation and product quality. This division also enhances the production and development of aquaculture through research and technological advances.
The Division of Agricultural Environmental Services is the consumer's guardian when it comes to inspecting and certifying pesticides, fertilizers, animal feeds and plant seeds. The Division also protects the public from disease carrying insects, unsafe pesticide use, and dishonest or unqualified pest control operators.
The Division of Marketing and Development helps promote Florida agriculture across the nation and around the world. Under the "Fresh from Florida" program, the division arranges exhibitions, trade missions and promotional campaigns to expand markets Florida's wide range of agricultural products. It also operates the system of State Farmers' Markets, which facilitate commerce by linking producers, packers, shippers and consumers.
Citrus diseases, fruit flies, nematodes, garden snails, bee mites... Florida's nursery and honeybee industries face many threats. The Division of Plant Industry works to identify control or eradicate harmful plant and apiary pests. This Division works with approximately eight thousand registered nurseries and more than two thousand registered apiaries throughout Florida to reduce or eliminate the economic and environmental impact posed by these pests.
The Division of Standards assures the public of the accuracy of all commercial weighing and measuring devices from gas pumps to truck scales to check out scanners. It also checks gasoline and other vehicle fluids for proper ingredients. In addition, this Division regulates the LP Gas industry in the state. The Division of Standards also inspects amusement rides, and tests and analyzes a wide range of products.
Licensing and regulating individuals in the private security, investigative and repossession industries is one of the primary duties of the Division of Licensing. Its goal is to protect the public from unqualified or unscrupulous individuals in these businesses. The Division also has the responsibility of issuing Concealed Weapons Licenses to qualified citizens who wish to carry such weapons for self protection.
The Department has a number of vastly different, yet equally important, responsibilities.
Whether it's caring for Florida's State Forests... ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply... or protecting the rights of consumers... service to the citizens of Florida is always the top priority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.