I lead a company that employs 500 individuals in Florida. (I own a home in Holmes Beach). The phosphate industry and primarily Mosaic is one of our largest industrial customers. In my years of experience with many other former mining companies, Mosaic is by far the most environmentally focused company in the industry today.
Most people do not realize the food they consumed for dinner contains phosphorus that likely originated in our Florida mines. Every time we take a crop from the field and onto our dinner tables, nutrients that were in our soil go with it. We must replace them or crops will simply not grow.
If we are not able to get our phosphate from Florida, where will we get it? Florida provides 75 percent of the phosphate used by American farmers; there is no richer source in the country than we have right here. Farmers can’t maintain our level of output without these fertilizers. I would hate to see us become dependent on other nations for our food supply.
The economic benefits of a phosphate mine reach beyond those individual employees that are directly employed by Mosaic. Every mine location supports hundreds of other workers that are employed by outside contractors. Those contractors, just like mine employees, patronize your local businesses and spend money in your county contributing to your tax base. Many of those companies have employees or families in Manatee County.
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I urge the Board of County Commissioners to vote to extend the life of the Mosaic Wingate Creek Mine.