Orlando Sentinel: Governor, Cabinet set to approve buying agricultural land

Orlando Sentinel: Governor, Cabinet set to approve buying agricultural land

From the Orlando Sentinel:

A renewed surge in state spending to shield cattle ranches, water and wildlife from development is up for approval today by Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members.

Last year, the Legislature set aside $11.5 million to target agricultural land with a type of purchase that allows farmers and ranchers to stay on land that Florida panthers may roam one day. To get the buying underway as soon as next month, Scott and Cabinet members must sign off on 16 potential properties, including four in Central Florida…

Groups such as Audubon Florida and the Florida Forever Coalition strongly support the Rural and Family Lands program. The two are pushing lawmakers to come up with an additional $25 million this year for the program, hoping to build critical momentum toward restoring Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and other ailing environments.

The Rural and Family Lands program typically pays for about half of the total value of land. An acre of ranch land south of Orlando through Osceola and Highlands counties is often priced in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.