|| The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was created in 1969 (Ch. 69-106, Laws), but the post of its chief officer was created in 1885 (Article IV, Section 26, 1885 Constitution; Article IV, 4(f), 1968 Constitution, Ch. 19, FS). The Department of Agriculture was formed in 1889 (Ch. 3857, Laws) and reformed in 1959 (Ch. 59-54, Laws). The Commissioner of Agriculture was formerly the Commissioner of Lands and Immigration, a post created in 1871, combining the duties of the Commissioner of Immigration and the Surveyor-General (Article VII, Section 8, 1868 Constitution, as amended 1871). Prior to 1969, the Commissioner of Agriculture controlled a Bureau of Immigration (until 1959), supervised the state prison (until 1957), and managed the Land Office (until 1963), in addition to supervising all matters pertaining to agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture was reorganized in 1959 and performed most agricultural regulating and inspecting; made recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on the needs of agriculture in the state; set license and inspection fees; administered the dairy, plant, and animal industries of the state; inspected fertilizers, feeds, seeds, petroleum products, and pesticides; and collected and distributed information on agriculture.
In 1969, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was formed from a merger of the existing Department, the Florida Consumers' Council, the Office of Consumer Services, the Florida Board of Forestry, the State Soil and Water Conservation Board, the Board of Commissioners of the Everglades Fire Control District, and various technical and advisory councils and committees.
The Department's divisions include Administration, Standards, Marketing, Dairy Industry, Fruit and Vegetable Inspection, Inspection, Chemistry, Animal Industry, Plant Industry, Consumer Services, and Forestry. These Divisions regulate food products and petroleum products; control pests, diseases, and forests; maintain the Citrus Code; and provide other public services. In addition, on January 3, 2003, the effective date of a 1998 constitutional amendment eliminating the office of Secretary of State from the Cabinet and making the Department of State responsible to the governor, the Department of State's Division of Licensing, which licenses public agencies (private detectives, security guards, charitable and consumer protection organizations), was transferred to the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Department also administers several technical councils and commissions and the Agricultural Advisory Council. The Commissioner of Agriculture is a member of the elected Cabinet, and the Commissioner can succeed himself for an unlimited number of four-year terms.