Senator Genevieve Whitaker and Staff had the opportunity to tour Rueben Roebuck's farm on Saturday, August 13, 2022. During the tour, our team learned that Mr. Roebuck has hardly any support and assistance with his farm, as he can’t do it alone. He has stated that he hasn’t been receiving funding from the Department of Agriculture (DOA), which led to having to contact private entities to retrieve supplies.
Other concerns involve the ridiculous mark-up for local fruits in the stores. For example, buying dragon fruits for $5 a pound, then selling them for $10 a pound in the store. The produce that is received from the states is the fruits that are returned, which no one wants. Mr. Roebuck suggests creating a local home statue and encouraging DOA officials to look at what local farmers produce and determine the standard based on the cost of production. Additionally, it is important to note that since the hurricane work has slowed down, and modifications were implemented. For example, for a few years now farmers have been clearing their pastures of the mounds because they’re not allowed to take them to the landfill due to any wires and fences that may be in them. Mr. Roebuck hopes that the Department of Agriculture can find an area at the landfill where farmers can burn and take the metals out as was allowed before but because it’s so dry it is not feasible. Senator Genevieve Whitaker thanks Mr. Roebuck for his generosity to the senator and her team during the visit to his farm.
Last year Senator Genevieve Whitaker visited Enrique Schuster Crucian Sun farm on June 26, 2021, and heard his concerns. Mr. Schuster was experiencing a lack of support from Agriculture regarding the lack of land clearing, and water supply during droughts. With these tours, we hope to continue checking on our local farmers concerning their wants and needs, and any improvements Senator Whitaker’s office can make to ensure there is productivity on the farms. Senator Whitaker would like to keep the momentum going with the farm tours therefore farmers who may be interested in having the senator tour their farms or know anyone interested in joining the youth agricultural project can check out the following link: https://bit.ly/StakeholderFormSenWhitaker to set up an appointment.
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