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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Governor Rick Scott is criticizing President Barack Obama’s plans to lift part of a longstanding embargo against Cuba because he feels it will hurt the state’ farmers.

“Florida agriculture has over a $100 billion impact on our state, and President Obama should be doing everything he can to support it,” Scott said in a statement. “Sadly, he continues to stand side by side with the Castro regime.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has sent a letter to Florida’s congressional delegation which warns them of the risks that trade with Cuba poses to Florida agriculture. Putnam acknowledged in the letter that Florida would likely play a key role in commerce between the countries because of its proximity to Cuba.

However, Putnam cautioned that Cuba poses a threat because of a lack of “sanitary and phytosanitary programs and resources necessary to suppress plant pest and disease.”

He added, “While many segments of the U.S. economy seem to be swept up in the tide of commercial interests and the lure of visiting this forbidden island nation, the stark realities of any potential gain for the United States, and Florida particularly, is significantly outweighed by the negative effects likely from the liberalization of longstanding policy toward Cuba.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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