Pepe Fanjul Jr.: Economic Contributions of Agriculture

Florida’s economy is driven through tourism, construction and agriculture.  Florida Crystals Corporation is one of many agricultural operations that provide great jobs and contributions to the entire Western Florida community.  Pepe Fanjul Jr. is a fifth generation sugarcane producer with roots that date back to 1860 in Cuba.  His belief in Florida’s farming community was on display at the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches breakfast that took place on June 20, 2013.  As the host, Pepe Fanjul Jr. introduced the guest speaker Adam Putnam, who is Agriculture Commissioner.  Everyone knows that agriculture is a mainstay in the Florida economy.

Attendees learned more about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is a Florida state agency.  The mission of this agency is to promote Florida agriculture, provide an abundant food supply that is safe, foster energy development through innovation, manage the state’s forestry land and safeguard consumers.  In conjunction with this mission, the major farming operations have been engaged in efforts to improve the water quality throughout Florida.  Implementation of the best farming practices has reduced phosphorous levels in the water that leaves the farmland.  Natural waterways have returned to their pristine condition even though the agricultural operations continue to grow.

Florida Crystals Corporation owns the largest biomass in North America.  Pepe Fanjul Jr. participated in the design and implementation of the green energy power plant that would use the methane produced from decaying plant matter to product electricity.  Every year seven million tons of sugarcane are harvested and produced at the processing plant.  Following the production processes, the remaining sugarcane debris is placed in the biomass.  All of the unused electricity is sent to the local power grid for tens of thousands of homes in the surrounding community.  Creative approaches such as these support the state’s quest for multiple energy sources that will not affect the environment.