County To Hire Agricultural Manager
By Tom Harlan
Miami-Dade County officials will hire an agricultural manager to help expand the county’s $1 billion agricultural industry, which employs up to 22,000 and uses more than 80,000 acres of land.
The hiring would be part of a plan to preserve the community, said Subrata Basu, the county’s assistant director for planning.
Hiring a manager would precede two other strategies to retain agriculture:
Crafting a program to transfer non-agricultural development rights in targeted areas to other areas.
Preserving land by purchasing development rights from owners through use of the county’s General Obligation Bond.
An agricultural manager is to be hired in two months and would report to the county manager.
"I think that the really important aspect of this type of position is that it’s housed at the policy level, in the county manager’s office," said county Cooperative Extension Director Don Pybas.
The county needs someone to promote the industry as the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce promotes commercial and industrial development, said Stephen Gran, Hillsborough County’s manager for agricultural development.
A representative would help the state’s second-leading industry increase agricultural values, he said, and hold onto land among growing urbanization.
The Miami-Dade position is modeled after the Hillsborough job, said Katie Edwards of the Miami-Dade Farm Bureau.
"The ideal candidate is to have extensive knowledge and background in agricultural production," Ms. Edwards said, "and be able to further protect the viability of the industry as a whole, whether acting as a liaison between commercial growers and the county, on trade agreements, or in marketing, promotion and education components."