Dr. Michael Olexa Receives 2023 Florida Bar Journal Excellence in Writing Award

Dr. Michael Olexa, UF Professor of Food and Resource Economics and Director of the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law recently received the 2023 Florida Bar Journal Excellence in Writing Award for his article “Harvesting the Sun: A Sustainable Approach for Florida’s Greenbelt Law.” 

 This award, decided upon by the Florida Bar Journal & News Editorial Board, evaluates articles published in the journal each year holistically, judging based on their substance, style, and writing and research quality. Olexa’s co-author on the paper, Christopher Hill was also a recipient of the award. Hill is an alumni of the UF Levin College of Law 

 “Chris and I are extremely honored to be recognized by The Florida Bar Journal for this prestigious writing award for our article addressing an issue of importance to Florida agriculture, a major component of Florida’s economy,” Olexa said. 

Published in the journal’s September/October 2023 edition, the article explores the application of solar energy exclusively for farm use to reduce crop production costs. 

 The Greenbelt Law, passed by the Florida Legislature in 1959, provides tax benefits for bone fide agricultural operations. It does so by not taxing agricultural lands at the highest and best use with the intent to perpetuate and encourage agricultural pursuits. 

While other types of infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, are included in the current Greenbelt Law, solar panels are currently excluded. 

 “This is especially important for agricultural operations faced with the high cost of fossil fuels,” Olexa said.  

 The full article is available to read in The Florida Bar Journal at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/harvesting-the-sun-a-sustainable-approach-for-floridas-greenbelt-law/#:~:text=Whether%20placed%20on%20minimally%20productive,the%20operations%20on%20that%20land. 


Alena Poulin
Posted: April 9, 2024

Tags: Food And Resource Economics

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