Florida leaders talk biofuels, trade

Governor Charlie Crist recently joined Commissioner Charles Bronson, of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at the 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit. The governor delivered the summit’s keynote address in support of Florida’s efforts to develop renewable energy and announced plans to lead a trade mission to São Paulo, Brazil to explore climate friendly trade and technology.

“I applaud Commissioner Bronson’s leadership in promoting renewable fuels that will enable Florida to reduce greenhouse gases and increase our energy efficiency,” said Governor Crist. “This summit is an exemplary model of what can be accomplished when we work together to develop innovative solutions for the challenges and opportunities in Florida’s energy and environmental future.”

The 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit brought together leaders from the agriculture industry, academia, financial institutions and government, to discuss and exchange ideas on how Florida can use renewable resources to meet its energy needs.

Commissioner Bronson developed the Farm to Fuel Initiative to make Florida a leader in the national effort to utilize biofuels. The Florida Farm to Fuel Initiative evolved from Commissioner Bronson’s leadership role in the national “25x’25” program. The goal of “25x’25” is to produce 25 percent of America’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.

“I am grateful to Governor Crist for his continued efforts to conserve Florida’s environment and advance the use of renewable energy sources in our state,” said Bronson. “Florida’s farmers and ranchers play an important role in making Florida a leader in biofuels. This program will help Florida reduce our dependence on foreign oil and expand the agriculture market for Florida farmers.”

The 2007-2008 state budget, signed by Governor Crist earlier this year, includes $20 million in funding for ethanol research, $5 million to continue the Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program and $10 million for other Renewable Energy Technologies Grants. For more information, please visit www.flgov.com or www.floridafarmtofuel.com.

Governor Crist also announced plans to lead a trade mission to São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 3-8, 2007. The purpose of the mission is to strengthen Florida-Brazil relations and establish procedures for sharing ideas for technology and innovation.

“Florida’s economy is booming, but we must always look for new ways to fulfill Florida’s economic potential,” said Governor Crist. “Brazil is a leader in the production of biofuels such as ethanol, and Florida’s growing renewable energy industry can benefit from shared understanding.”

Governor Crist and state leaders will meet with senior members of the Brazilian government to explore trade and investment possibilities. In addition to biofuels, export opportunities with Brazil include agricultural equipment, telecommunications, aviation and aerospace, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.

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