Sugar growers to state: No sale on our farmland south of Lake Okeechobee

Miami Herald: Written by Mary Ellen Klas. February 6, 2017.

TALLAHASSEE- Sugar-cane growers and other farmers who own some of the largest parcels of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area told the Florida Senate on Monday that they will not willingly sell their land to build a water-holding reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, setting up a possible standoff in the power struggle over the future of Everglades cleanup.

The owners, which include sugar giants U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals, said in a letter delivered to the Legislature on Tuesday that they “do not support any governmental acquisition of additional farm lands south of Lake Okeechobee to solve issues that are being caused north of Lake Okeechobee and in Martin County.

The letter is signed by 12 individuals representing 14 companies who farm in the EAA. Their argument: Any attempt to buy land to store water south of Lake Okeechobee “simply cannot store enough water to stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee when our region is inundated from heavy rains.”

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