Agriculture Comm Campaigns In Ag-Poor Broward






We don’t see much of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in Broward County.

After all, Broward is one of the counties least dependent on agriculture.


Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam talks to Future Farm of America students in Southwest Florida

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam talks to Future Farmer of America students. 


But this is an election year.  Broward may not have a lot of commercial fruit trees, vegetables or cattle.  But Broward has money and votes.

So Putnam Wednesday has scheduled a fund raiser after touring the State Farmers’ Market in Pompano Beach, a remnant of Broward’s agricultural past.

The market has been a distribution point for agricultural products from October to June. It services about 200 trucks-a-day, which carry okra, peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, eggplant, mango and other produce, according to market literature.

The market estimates it generates jobs for 2,500 Florida families.

Putnam is planning to be at the market at 5:30 p.m. and then its off to the home of Ed Myrick in Lighthouse Point for a fundraiser. Myrick is president of the South Florida Agricultural Association, which represents the tenants, farmers and transportation firms at the market.

Myrick’s industry is largely hidden in Broward. His fund raiser points up an advantage Putnam will have when he makes an expected run for higher office – governor or U. S. senator.

As Ag Commissioner, Putnam has a lock on campaign contributions from Florida’s extremely well heeled agricultural business. Ag is the second or third biggest industry in the state, depending upon who is doing the counting.

Despite all the urbanization, Florida has almost 48,000 farms and produces around 300 commercial agricultural products.

The value of these products are huge.

For instance according to state statistics, there is roughly $1.5 billion worth of oranges sold annually.  Add to that $564 million in tomatoes, $509 million in sugar cane and $60 million worth of blueberries. There are 1.66 million cattle in Florida. Throw in sea food, ornamental plants and even aquarium fish for hobbyists, and you see how big agriculture to Florida’s economy.

The owners of all those farms, ranches, packing houses, trucking firms, fishing fleets, tractor dealers, feed stores and others toss money at the agriculture commissioner every four years.

Putnam has raised $2.7 million and was given another $854,000 in in-kind contributions so far this campaign.

His Democratic opponent, Thad Hamilton — He’s from Sunrise, that center of Florida agriculture right here in Broward! — has raised $20,983 and another $3,190 in-kind.

Putnam is clearly the more experienced candidate.

Born in Bartow, 40-year-old Putnam is a fifth generation Floridian who grew up in the cattle industry. He graduated in food science at the University of Florida, where he was a member of an agricultural student fraternity. He was a member of the state House for four years and then a member of Congress from 2001-2010. He was only 26 years-old when he took office.In 2010 he was elected Agriculture Commissioner, a member of the state Cabinet.

Putnam is a Republican to watch in the future. With his resume and his campaign cash, he would make a formable candidate for any office.


12 Responses to “Agriculture Comm Campaigns In Ag-Poor Broward”

  1. Sam The Sham says:

    It is the Department of Agriculture AND CONSUMER SERVICES. It is much larger than people assume and it touches everybody in several different ways.

    Take a look at their website.

    Food inspections, carnival rides, concealed weapons, consumer fraud. The list goes on and on. On top of those, I believe that all charities must also report to this department. It is not just agriculture anymore.


    Absolutely true. The ag commissioner has powers beyond agriculture. In addition, the ag commission is a member of the Cabinet, which is a very important job.

    The money for campaigns and the power of the office comes largely from the ag industry. Almost every news release from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs concerns the ag industry. The department’s website is There is a reason. The ag industry is really the only constituency that cares about the ag commissioner.

  2. Kevin Hill says:

    His name is on a sticker that is on every single gas pump in the state of Florida….

  3. Kevin Hill says:

    And depending on how to define “agriculture” it is either the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th largest industry in Florida.

  4. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    I maybe a liberal democrat but i plant n raise fruit n vegetables on the front n backysrds. I think mr putnams emsils help me build up my ability to keep peppers mint straw erries oranges lemons limes tsngerines mandarin oranges n grspefruit alive n striving. More helpful thsn politicsl speeches n gundraising emsils

  5. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Buddy, it’s hard to understand why you are making the ludicrous claim that “Putnam is clearly the more experienced candidate.” Let’s fact-check…

    * Adam Putnam was born in July 1974 & he is only 40 years old.

    * Thaddeus Hamilton earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture.

    * Thaddeus Hamilton served 36 years with the United States Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Services.

    * Thaddeus Hamilton was honored by President George H. Bush for outstanding service in agriculture and the environment.

    So either Adam Putnam somehow earned a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture at the age of four, and then spent the next 36 years working in the agriculture sector, or Thaddeus Hamilton is actually the more experienced candidate

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Local impact: Thaddeus Hamilton rescued Fort Lauderdale Beach!!page2/cjg9

    * Responsible for the re-vegetation and establisment of approximately 95% of the coastal sand dunes in Broward County. These re-vegetated sand dunes have:

    A. Generated tens of millions of dollars in benefit to Broward County and the State of Florida each year.

    B. Created a safe wild life habitat for our rare and endangered sea turtles and other coastal wildlife.

    C. Trained thousands of Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County School students in coastal environment education.

    D. Helped save Fort Lauderdale beach from erosion.


    This is a highly questionable resume. Just because a political website claims it, doesn’t mean it is true. At best, it is favorable spin.

    Hamilton was one member of the board of the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District, a little-known district with an appealing name that I wrote about in 2007 for the Sun-Sentinel:

    “An obscure countywide environmental group…even its chief supervisor concedes the agency’s financial oversight is lax and “we haven’t had all the checks and balances we should have.”

    The district was so hidden that many in county government never heard of it. Do you really believe the group could have been accomplishing all that is claimed above if nobody heard of it.

    They met in a tiny room on the second floor of an office building on Griffin Road. Their district records were a mess and it was almost impossible to figure out exactly what they did. County officials were quoted in my story that the agency duplicated work already handled by them.

    My investigative work found that the district paid their own administrator almost $500,000 from the grants they obtained from the feds and states, money that was suppose to go towards the environment. They had no written contract or agreement with the administrator to get this money:

    “(The administrator), who contracts his services to the district on a part-time basis, said he didn’t get a salary but instead took a portion of the grants. Under an informal arrangement he had with the group’s five elected supervisors, he said he both paid himself an administration fee and collected money left over from the grants.

    The arrangement was an incentive to be more cost efficient, he said.

    The district has no guidelines on how much or how little he gets paid from each grant.”

  7. Wayne Arnold says:

    As the President of the Davie Merchants and Industrial Association, Inc our club was proud to host a candidate’s night before the first election primary in August. We sent out invites to all candidates including lesser types representing several parties including both Democrat and Republican. The only candidate to confirm reservation to speak at the free dinner of Italian food was candidate Thad Hamilton running for Ag. Commissioner. He spoke eloquently before our little group. I thank him for attending. Wish one of the major candidates for Governor had the time to speak at our dinner meeting on October 21st at 7:00 P.M. at the Davie women’s club on Orange Dr. in front of the Davie Town Hall. Email: for RSVP.

  8. Wayne Arnold says:

    Sorry, I failed to acknowledge all of the other fine candidates for judgeships, local races for school board, Commissioner and one congressional candidate who spoke. Mr. Hamilton was the only state wide candidate who attended. DMIA does not make endorsements.

  9. Community Counts says:

    Thad Hamiton is a very hard working, honest, decent, dedicated, low keyed man of great integrity. I have known him since he was a young man who never hesitated to help by rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty in our soil, and taking the lead in our communities. He desreves our votes! He EARNED them. He helped beautify and support Broward for decades. I love the man. I hope he wins!
    Kathy DiBona

  10. Seth Platt says:

    Adam Putnam has an abysmal lifetime score of 9% for his voting on environmental issues when he was a member of Congress from the League of Conservation Voters.


    He will have to defend that record if he runs for something more substantial. That was never an issue when he ran for agriculture commissioner in 2010 because (1) the campaign was so low-key, (2) nobody cares about ag commissioner except ag interests and rural areas and (3) Democratic nominee Scott Maddox could never get any traction or enough money. Putnam had roughly $4.2 million, while Maddox had around $1 million.

  11. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @6 (Buddy) – your 2007 article was written years before Thaddeus Hamilton joined the board (in 2010). Here’s a report from late 2010 explaining the Broward Soil & Water Conservation District:

    … the conservation of the beaches that make up a great deal of our tourism dollars – and safety of the beaches and the dunes are part of the remit of this organization. Evidentially, in 1973, some individuals from Broward petitioned the State of Florida to create the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District. From my research, the main purpose of this group seems to be a board of volunteers who have the support of the State of Florida to execute on the interests of the citizens of Broward County to secure fund – whether state, federal or local – to address environmental and conservation issues. In recent years, this group has been behind the dune restoration of Hallandale Beach and the educational efforts on water conservation across Broward County. In addition, the BSWCD has also completed a project for the NOAA which they secured a grant/funding to accomplish.

    Interesting to me is that the BSWCD dos not levy any taxes on the county – even though my read of the statutes suggests they could (note: I m not a lawyer). They simply lobby state, federal and local governments for grant money and execute on their efforts. …

    So, why should I care?

    Truthfully, you should care because as a Broward citizen, your county well-being rests on a number of issues which happen to include clean and plentiful water, continued tourism, agriculture. The BSWCD is supposed to address these issues through their efforts like the dune restoration project, the water sprinkler assessment system, non single-point-source pollution efforts and other projects that could get waylaid in political bureaucracies – and allow for citizen volunteers to act instead of worry[ing] about political brew-ha-has.


    Thad Hamilton got 2 percent of the vote in 2010 as an independent. He’ll do better this time around as a Democrat. But he won’t win.

  12. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Why is it that liberal democrats can never admit that a private sector conservative
    Republican can be better qualified than a public sector liberal democrat no matter what the facts are? Yeah for a purely social services post mr hamilton might be more qualified than mr putnam, but for a post concernec with protecting n developing private industry? The agricultural commissioner should be a farmer or rancher or forester not an urban or city based bureaucrat.