Florida farm calendar is dust - FOX 13 News

Florida farm calendar is dust

Updated: Friday, 24 Feb 2012, 11:39 PM EST
  • Florida farm calendar is dustMore>>

  • $8-million calendar unnecessary, farmers say

    $8-million calendar unnecessary, farmers say

    Farmers need to know when to water and when to fertilize. We want to know why the state is spending $8-million on a new calendar that will help them figure that out -- especially since farmers say they don't need it.
    Farmers need to know when to water and when to fertilize. We want to know why the state is spending $8-million on a new calendar that will help them figure that out -- especially since farmers say they don't need it.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A FOX 13 investigation exposed wasteful government spending for an online farm calendar, but now, as a direct result of our investigation, the calendar is being scrapped and the money moved to a place it's really needed.

Last year, legislators approved $4-million to build a new online calendar called PADLOC. The acronym stands for Precision Agriculture Daily Logistics Online Calendar. The state was to spend another $4-million to test soil sensors around the state. That's a total of $8-million to basically tell farmers when to water and fertilize.

It didn't pass the smell test with a lot of people, especially since the University of Florida already has an online calendar, which basically does the same thing, called the Florida Automated Weather Network.

Florida's commissioner of agriculture, Adam Putnam, told us the same thing we had heard from many farmers -- he didn't want it, or even ask for it.

"The Legislature has the power of the purse, and as per the constitution, we do what we're told," Putnam explained.

And the commissioner was told to spend the money until State Senator Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, saw our story and showed it around Tallahassee.

"As you clearly pointed out in your story when you interviewed farmers -- and we looked into this a little as well beyond your story -- nobody wanted it, nobody asked for it," said Fasano.

So this week, he created an amendment to move millions from the farm calendar to the Department of Forestry, which will use it to buy and fix equipment to fight wildfires across the state.

Fasano told FOX 13 nobody complained about his amendment and it was quickly adopted.

"When your story came out on FOX 13, it was a bit embarrassing, I think, to the entire Legislature."

About $3-million will be re-directed to Forestry, the other $5-million for the calendar has already been spent.

The transfer will be finalized once the budget is signed and the money will become available in July.

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