Nikki Fried falsely claims agriculture not represented on DeSantis’s Re-Open Florida Task Force

by | Apr 20, 2020

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is at it again, pointing the finger at Governor Ron DeSantis for how he’s managed the coronavirus crisis. This time, she played the victim card.

On Monday, DeSantis held a conference call with the executive committee on the Re-Open Florida Task Force to set in motion a plan to reopen the state and restart Florida’s stalled economy. The call included statewide elected Republicans, several key business leaders, and members of the governor’s cabinet. The lone statewide Democrat, however, was left off the call, prompting the full-time martyr to lash out at DeSantis for the omission.

“This is sadly more of the same politics over state from the Governor. I was not asked to serve alongside my fellow Cabinet members on the task force, which has no voice on its membership representing Florida’s $137 billion agriculture industry,” Fried said in a statement issued by her office.

“That is deeply concerning given the impacts of COVID-19 on Florida’s second largest industry, and given the progress my team had made working with federal, state, local, and retail partners to reduce negative impacts on Florida agriculture. It’s equally concerning that the Governor failed to mention agriculture on the initial call — I hope he will join my commitment to supporting our farmers and feeding our families,” she continued.

But of course, agriculture is represented on the task force, in the form of State Senator Wilton Simpson, himself an actual farmer, unlike former marijuana industry lobbyist Fried.

Simpson not only served as Pasco County Farm Bureau president, he owns and operates one of the largest egg farms in Florida. If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’ve eaten eggs from his farm.

Simpson was adopted at age 6 and grew up with the family businesses, an egg farm in Trilby and an environmental cleanup company with operations throughout the Southeast.

The family sold the egg farm in 1996. But after the new owners went under and left the farm’s 200,000 chickens to starve to death in 2003, Simpson bought it back.

He turned it into a multimillion-dollar operation, producing tens of millions of eggs with factory-like precision. The eggs, through food distributor Cal-Maine Foods, end up in grocery stores throughout the state, including Publix. (Source: Miami Herald)

As a State Senator and soon to be majority leader (and likely Senate President), it makes Simpson the highest-ranking farmer in the state government and gives real farmers a voice on the task force.

Fried’s diatribe is just the latest installment in near-daily drama in which Fried uses every news cycle of the pandemic to place the spotlight on herself in an attempt to raise her profile. She has shown little interest in working with DeSantis, at a time when the two should be working together to resolve the most devastating economic crisis the state has ever faced.

Brian Burgess contributed to this story.



  1. Lee DaPra

    I am not happy with our Gov. I voted for him but feel he has been very weak on this. Should have shut us down faster and more completely. He is too politically motivated.

    • Harold Finch

      Oh come on Lee, get a grip!! The Governor has done an excellent job navigating the State through all the COVID-19 issues!! And how easy for you to say what he should have done in the past, when there was not the data to support a complete shutdown.

    • Brian Burgess

      What do you base that criticism on? Florida is not New York. Our cases are signficantly fewer than New York and we are trending downward while trying to keep an economy going that is MUCH MUCH more fragile than New York’s. Think about our economy for a moment: it’s tourism based. Disney. Theme parks. Cruise ships. Vacation rentals. Hotels. Restaurants. That’s the backbone of our economy. The fact that Florida’s outcome is so signficantly different than New York’s is a perfect example of why a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work across the nation – just as it wouldn’t work inside Florida. The governor was absolutely right to defer decisions to the local level and allow communities to decide for themselves what is best.

      • Bruce S

        By the way, you also neglected to mention that there are only two women – the Lt. Gov and the Attorney General – out of the whole group. Do you seriously think representation was a consideration? It sure looks like good ol’fashioned FL GOP politics to me. (HT FL Phoenix)

  2. Harold Finch

    Ole Fried fricasseed herself again!! This is what happens when a completely unqualified, inexperienced and out of her league political hack is elected to a key Cabinet position and is only looking for the next political rung on the ladder to climb to.

    She is an absolute embarrassment to the Agriculture Community in Florida, just ask any real farmer!!

  3. Bruce S

    Gov. DeSantis is the one who is way, way over his head. He can’t stand that Comm. Fried has done more with her job than either her predecessor or the Gov. The Gov. excluded only one member of the cabinet, the Democratic woman who has shined since taking office. He doesn’t want to give her a voice and he doesn’t want to appear as the bumbling idiot that he has been.

    • Brian Burgess

      Putting aside partisan politics, you do realize that her criticism is false, though, right? She complained that agriculture wasn’t represented. She has zero experience in actual agriculture. She is so focused on calling attention to herself that she didn’t even know that the governor appointed an ACTUAL farmer to the task force.

      • Bruce S

        Indeed, Wilton Simpson is a big-time farmer. However, there is only one person elected by the citizens of the state to represent agriculture and consumer services statewide. For some reason, the Governor is ignoring Commissioner Fried. The spin about farmer Wilton Simpson is just that – spin. It tries to make DeSantis’s crude dismissal of the state’s voters somehow valid. It fails. Fried was elected to represent agriculture in FL, not Simpson.

  4. Peaches

    I think all the dems in Florida should go back to NY and California where they came from.

  5. Jared Maxwell

    That bitch needs to shut up, she is a lobbyist in disguise.

  6. Franklin Thompson

    Miss Fried appears to be only interested in picking a fight, when there is none to pick. That has been her mantra since she took office and even during the election. She has no reason to want to open Florida’s economy. It would mean progress and she and her side simply cannot allow that…6 months before the Presidential election. She is blind and deaf to folks who had to scrape just to get by even before all this crap started and now they have to listen to a high paid cabinet member tell them she doesn’t want them to go back to work.

  7. B Radford

    Well Ms Fried, perhaps if you weren’t being an idiot by violating the citizens of Florida”s CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED 2nd Amendment rights, and being a d(*&^% about CCW license renewals, or in other words doing your damn job, maybe the Governor would have included you in the task force. Just because you are a cabinet member, that doesn’t automatically mean you will included in his effort to get the state back to work. In his shoes, I would only want people who I knew were team players. Your agenda, obvious to one and all, precedes you, and clearly demonstrates YOU ARE NOT A TEAM PLAYER. In my mind, that makes any input you may have to be counterproductive and of no value. So quit whining and go your damn job.

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