WUFT News

Agriculture experience influences Florida Senate candidate Wilton Simpson

By on November 5th, 2012

The six candidates running for open seats in the Florida Legislature have something in common: agriculture. All of the candidates are active Florida Farm Bureau members and leaders, according to a bureau press release.

Unopposed Florida Senate District 18 Republican candidate, Wilton Simpson, said agriculture will be a top priority during his two-year term.

“You know, agriculture is one of the leading drivers of the economy in the state of Florida and being on a farm and understanding the unique challenges of being a farmer will affect a lot of my policy decisions,” he said.

District 18 encompasses Hernando County and most of Pasco and Sumter counties. In 2007, land dedicated to farming in Hernando, Pasco and Sumter counties was 56,237 acres, 149,963 acres and 159,789 acres, respectively, according to USDA Census of Agriculture data.

Simpson grew up on a couple of acres of land in Plant City. His family started in the painting and asbestos removal business before entering the agriculture industry.

“As a younger child, we did a lot of farming and gardening as part of our family exercise,” he said. “You know, to take care of ourselves.”

In 1978, the Simpson family moved to Dade City. In the late 1970s, Simpson’s father started the family’s first egg farm with about 64,000 chickens as a contract producer with Wallace Hatchery, Inc. By 1980, the family had about 100,000 chickens. Simpson’s father sold the egg farm in 1996.

“After my dad sold the facility in Trilby, I started a smaller one,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be in the agriculture business and had always been around it as a kid.”

In 2002, Simpson bought back his father’s egg-laying facility from Cypress Foods and expanded it.

“It made a lot of sense,” he said, “I felt very fortunate to be in the position to buy it back.”

Today, Simpson Farms produces about 800,000 eggs a day. About one million chickens are cared for at the Trilby facility. The majority of the eggs are sold in the Tampa and Orlando areas, but also are distributed throughout Florida and the United States.

“It’s in my DNA,” he said. “So anytime issues come in front of me as it would relate to affecting the agriculture community it will be a top priority.”

Simpson is the president of Pasco County Farm Bureau’s board of directors and has been a member of the Florida Farm Bureau since the late 1970s.

“Agriculture will be a top priority,” he said. “It will be a top priority as it relates to our food source, the health of our economy, and the safe, affordable food that we need to survive.”

Melanie Peterson is running for Senate District 17,  Jake Raburn is running for House District 57, Katie Edwards is running for House District 98, and Halsey Beshears and Robert Hill are both running for House District 7.

Correction appended: A previous version of this story designated Simpson Farms as a hatchery. It is, instead, an egg-laying operation.


This entry was posted in Florida, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

The Ocala City Council repealed the so-called "saggy pants" ordinance at Ocala City Hall on Tuesday evening. The ordinance banned saggy pants on city property.

Ocala City Council Repeals ‘Saggy Pants’ Ordinance

The Ocala City Council voted to repeal an ordinance banning saggy pants on city property. The controversial ordinance met with criticism from the NAACP.


City of Hampton Kicks Off New Era with First Election In About a Decade

The city of Hampton holds its first election in about 10 years today after state lawmakers give local leaders a second chance instead of dissolving the city. Citizens will vote to fill city council seats and approve charter amendments.


Marty Washington, 57, of Gainesville, Florida walks by the City of Waldo Police Department on Wednesday, September 3. Waldo is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after being accused of issuing illegal ticket quotas for officers.

Steve Maynard Named Waldo’s Interim Police Chief

The Alachua County Sherriff’s Office has named Acting Captain Steve Maynard as Waldo’s new interim police chief, after the previous chief was accused of enacting illegal ticket quotas.


National Report, a satirical website, published a story stating Williston had signed a deal to replace the local police department with a privatized force. According to the article, the new police force would be "trained, managed, and wholly operated by Walmart."

Spoof Website Turns Attention to Williston Police Department

National Report, a satirical news website, drew attention to the Williston Police Department after publishing an article about a deal made with Walmart to supply the town with a new, privatized police force. Williston PD pointed out the satirical nature of the story on Facebook.


Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 4.01.08 PM

Former Waldo Police Chief Accused of Unlawful Ticket Quota

Former Waldo Police Chief Mike Szabo and current Cpl. Kenneth Smith have been accused of misrepresentation, fraud and enforcing unlawful ticketing quotas among other allegations made by current Waldo police officers.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments