Farming is not just a vital part of our region’s economy, it’s a time-honored way of life woven into the fabric of our local history and contributing to the very character of our community every day.
As a fourth-generation Manatee County tomato grower, president of the Manatee County Farm Bureau, supervisor of the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District and member of the Extension Advisory Council for many years, on occasion through the years I’ve heard opponents of the phosphate industry argue phosphate operations displace agriculture and are detrimental to farming. Interestingly, it’s not farmers making these statements.
Myself and other farmers understand that the agricultural economy throughout America and around the world relies on the valuable phosphate that comes from right here in our region.
In addition to providing a critical resource for our crops, we appreciate what Mosaic does to support our agricultural community — from supporting 4H, FFA, county fairs and many other efforts that promote youth in farming, agricultural awareness and community involvement.
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Mosaic truly cares and is always ready to help in any way they can. Examples for our area of Manatee County, the time, money and efforts to support the Historic Duette School for many years, build a better Duette Fire Station and a beautiful reclamation project named Bunker Hill Community Park. During our tornado crisis, Mosaic was right there working beside the Duette residents helping to rebuild fences, clearing roadways and rebuilding roads.
All the dedicated people involved with Mosaic’s Wingate and Four Corners Mines give back because like farmers, the phosphate industry has been a vital part of our region for generations. Many of the former mined lands now house citrus and cattle operations, as well as abundant recreational areas. Anyone who argues against phosphate mining is also arguing against farmers, the jobs we create, and the abundant, affordable food we produce with the necessity of fertilizer.