Agriculture is an integral part of Central Florida’s thriving economy.  With hard-working farmers, fertile land, a lush climate, and a year-round growing season, we help feed our country and the world. Agriculture and national resource industries manage about two-thirds of our state’s land area.  Conservation and sound environmental management on these lands are critical to maintaining clean water and air, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation areas, and guarding against climate change.

In the 9th District, we have over 300,000 acres of farmland, including the top cattle producing county in Florida (Osceola) and the second-highest citrus producing county (Polk).

Crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries production output and direct employment are:

Osceola: output $108 million; jobs 622

Polk: output $712 million; jobs 11,534

Orange: output $285 million; jobs 2,929

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Darren is working in Congress to support and grow these industries, maintaining support for workers in these jobs, and the communities that depend on them. He is working on the Agriculture Committee and with the Appropriations Committee to fund research to combat citrus greening, which is hurting our groves. He is working to advance cattle research and provide access to crop insurance for our emerging blueberry and peach growers.

Darren also serves on the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. He is working on this subcommittee to ensure the smooth functioning of commodity exchanges, promote access to agricultural credit, and support rural development and electrification.


Selected bills on the agriculture co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R.831 - BALE Act of 2017 – The bill replaces the existing 80% limit on the portion of a loan that USDA may guarantee with limits that range from 80%-90%, depending on the principal amount of the loan. For socially disadvantaged or beginning farmers or ranchers, the bill replaces the existing 90% limit with limits that range from 85%-95%, depending on the principal amount of the loan.

H.R.1406 - Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017 – To amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

 H.R.800 - New Deal Rural Broadband Act of 2017 – To establish the Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives within the Department of Agriculture, to preserve open Internet requirements. The Under Secretary shall administer all rural and underserved areas broadband-related grant, loan, and loan guarantee programs administered by the Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service

H.R.909 - Pet and Women Safety Act of 2017 – To protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence from emotional and psychological trauma caused by acts of violence or threats of violence against their pets.

 H.R. 1847 – PAST ACTTo amend the Horse Protection Act to designate additional unlawful acts under the Act, strengthen penalties for violations of the Act, improve Department of Agriculture enforcement of the Act, and for other purposes.

H.R. 1626 - Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2017 To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from gross income certain amounts realized on the disposition of property raised or produced by a student farmer, and for other purposes.

HR 112 – Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act of 2017 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to temporarily allow expensing of certain costs of replanting citrus plants lost by reason of casualty. 

More on Agriculture

July 31, 2019 In The News

The comments were made before twenty Democratic presidential hopefuls debate for a second time in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Congressman Darren Soto say retaliatory tariffs on American goods are hurting Florida farmers. 

Soto says raising the price of their products such as orange juice makes it harder to compete with other providers.

December 12, 2018 Press Release

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed five bills introduced by Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) in the Conference Report on H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (more commonly known as the Farm Bill), a bill to strengthen our nation’s farm and food economy. In the Farm Bill, Rep.

July 26, 2018 In The News

Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) talked about a new plan from the Trump administration to aid farmers affected by tariffs levied against the United States. He spoke via video link from Capitol Hill.

June 21, 2018 Press Release

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the second version of the Farm Bill (H.R.2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), by a narrow margin of 213-211. Congressman Darren Soto, Member of the House Committee on Agriculture, released the following statement after voting against this legislation:  

May 18, 2018 Press Release

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the Farm Bill (H.R.2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), which sets agriculture policy and funding for the next five years. Rep. Soto, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement after House Democrats and 30 Republicans voted against this legislation:  

April 18, 2018 In The News

Agriculture has continued to be Florida’s second largest industry for many years now. Even so, the industry itself is still a mystery to many who live in Florida’s sprawling suburbia.

Our congressional district proudly boasts the top cattle producing county (Osceola) and usual top citrus producing county (Polk). Just take a short drive out of your neighborhood, and you will be surrounded by cow pastures, citrus groves, rows of berries, tomatoes, green houses and maybe even Florida peaches.

March 8, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C.  Today, U.S. Representatives Darren Soto (FL-09) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) introduced the Seeds for the Future Act, legislation that will put the power of the seed back into the hands of American farmers and land-grant institutions by reinvesting in our public seed breeding and research programs, and improving coordination across the federal agencies that support these activities.

February 15, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C.  Today, Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) and Representative Darren Soto (FL-09) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Nutrient Management Technical Service Provider Certification Act, to expand options for agriculture producers to access nutrient management technical assistance. This bill would allow qualified individuals, including Certified Crop Advisors or Certified Agronomists, to act as Technical Service Providers for nutrient management.

May 25, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON- Today, U.S. Congressmen Darren Soto (D-FL) and Ted Yoho (R-FL) introduced the United States-Israel Agriculture Strategic Partnership Act, (H.R. 2659) a bipartisan bill that permanently authorizes the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) program, founded 40 years ago.

May 10, 2017 Blog Post
One of the best things about representing Central Florida is the opportunities I get to learn about the amazing, innovative things people in our area are doing. I just toured Costa Farms, Gapway Groves, Agri-Starts, and the University of Florida IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. The first two have a lot of hard-working growers, and the last two have brilliant scientists. Together, they’re helping feed the country and beautify our gardens.