(1)(a) Except as provided in this section, before the approval of a citrus fruit dealer’s license, the applicant must deliver to the Department of Agriculture a good and sufficient cash bond, an appropriate certificate of deposit, or a surety bond executed by the applicant as principal and by a surety company qualified to do business in this state as surety, in an amount determined by the Department of Citrus pursuant to rules adopted by the department. The rules shall allow the department to consider any of the following factors for determining the amount of such bonds or certificates of deposit: the number of standard-packed boxes of citrus fruit, or the equivalent thereof, that the applicant intends to handle during the term of the license as set forth in the application; the total volume of fruit handled by the dealer the previous season; the highest month’s volume handled the previous season; the anticipated increase in the total citrus crop during the season for which the application for license is made; or other relevant factors.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 601.61
- Citrus fruit: means all varieties and regulated hybrids of citrus fruit and also means processed citrus products containing 20 percent or more citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Citrus fruit dealer: means any consignor, commission merchant, consignment shipper, cash buyer, broker, association, cooperative association, express or gift fruit shipper, or person who in any manner makes or attempts to make money or other thing of value on citrus fruit in any manner whatsoever, other than of growing or producing citrus fruit. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Commission: means the Florida Citrus Commission as head of the department. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Department: means the Department of Citrus. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Department of Agriculture: means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Packinghouse: means any building, structure, or place where citrus fruit is packed or otherwise prepared for market or shipment in fresh form. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
- Primary channel of trade: means the routes through which citrus fruit is marketed. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- Producer: means any person growing or producing citrus in this state for market. See Florida Statutes 601.03
- shipping: means to move, or cause to be moved, citrus fruit or the canned or concentrated products thereof in intrastate, interstate, or foreign commerce by rail, truck, boat, airplane, or any other means. See Florida Statutes 601.03
(b) If a citrus fruit dealer during the term of her or his license finds that she or he has handled, or can reasonably expect to handle, a volume of fruit greater than that covered by a posted bond or certificate of deposit, the dealer has the affirmative duty to immediately notify the Department of Agriculture and initiate a review by the Department of Citrus to determine any increase required in the amount of such bond or certificate of deposit to comply with the department’s rules for determining the amount of such bonds or certificates of deposit.
(2) Such bond shall be in the form approved by the Department of Agriculture and shall be conditioned as provided in s. 601.66(9); to fully comply with the terms and conditions of all contracts, verbal or written, made by the citrus fruit dealer with producers or with other citrus fruit dealers relative to the purchasing, handling, sale, and accounting of purchases and sales of citrus fruit; upon the dealer’s accounting for the proceeds from, and paying for, any citrus fruit purchased or contracted for in accordance with the terms of the contracts with producers; and upon the dealer’s accounting for any advance payments or deposits made, and delivering all citrus fruit contracted for, in accordance with the terms of the contracts with other citrus fruit dealers. The commission may prescribe by rule that such a producer contract contain information that it considers necessary to protect the producer from deceptive practices. For purposes of this chapter, every such contract shall be conclusively deemed to have been made and entered into during the shipping season in which the delivery of fruit into the primary channel of trade is made.
(3) Such bond shall be to the Department of Agriculture for the use and benefit of every producer and of every citrus fruit dealer with whom the dealer deals in the purchase, handling, sale, and accounting of purchases and sales of citrus fruit. The aggregate accumulative liability under any bond may not exceed the amount of the bond. Such bond shall provide that the surety company executing the bond is not liable to any citrus fruit dealer claiming to be injured or damaged by such dealer if the aggregate of the amounts found to be due to producers pursuant to this chapter equals or exceeds the amount of the bond, unless such citrus fruit dealer is also a producer and is acting in the capacity of a producer and not in the capacity of a citrus fruit dealer in the transaction wherein she or he claims to have been injured or damaged by applicant; however, if the aggregate of such amounts is less than the amount of the bond, the surety may be held liable to such citrus fruit dealers, but not in excess of the sum by which the amount of the bond exceeds the aggregate of the amounts found to be due to producers pursuant to this chapter.
(4) The Department of Citrus or the Department of Agriculture, or any officer or employee designated by the Department of Citrus or the Department of Agriculture, is authorized to inspect such accounts and records of any citrus fruit dealer as may be deemed necessary to determine whether a bond that has been delivered to the Department of Agriculture is in the amount required by this section or whether a previously licensed nonbonded dealer should be required to furnish bond. If any such citrus fruit dealer refuses to permit such inspection, the Department of Agriculture may publish the facts and circumstances and by order suspend the license of the offender until permission to make such inspection is given. Upon a finding by the Department of Agriculture that any citrus fruit dealer has dealt or probably will deal with more fruit during the season than shown by the application, the Department of Agriculture may order such bond increased to such an amount as will meet the requirements set forth in the rules adopted by the Department of Citrus for determining the amount of such bonds. Upon failure to file such increased bond within the time fixed by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture may publish the facts and circumstances and by order suspend the license of such citrus fruit dealer until such bond is increased as ordered.
(5)(a) The following citrus fruit, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the Department of Citrus, is not considered fruit with which the applicant intends to deal for the purpose of determining the amount of the bond required under subsection (1):
1. Citrus fruit that the applicant produces.
2. Citrus fruit that is handled for its members by a cooperative marketing association organized and existing under chapter 618 or chapter 619.
3. Fresh citrus fruit handled by the applicant that has been prepared and packaged by a registered packinghouse other than the applicant and has been inspected and certified for shipment.
4. Citrus fruit handled by the applicant from citrus groves for which the applicant provides complete grove management services under direct contract with the owner or producer.
5. Citrus fruit handled by a corporate or partnership applicant that is from citrus groves owned by officers or stockholders of the corporation or from citrus groves owned by the partnership, the parent corporation, or a wholly owned subsidiary corporation or its corporate officers or stockholders, or any partner of a partnership, if appropriate waivers of right to any claim against the bond required to be posted by this section are attached to and made a part of the license application.
6. Processed citrus fruit handled by the applicant that has been processed and packaged by a registered citrus processing plant other than the applicant and has been inspected and certified for shipment.
(b) If the applicant does not intend to deal with any citrus fruit other than that described in paragraph (a), the Department of Agriculture shall issue a license without the posting of a bond. Such a license shall bear a descriptive statement to the effect that the licensee is not a bonded citrus fruit dealer.
(c) A claim against any citrus fruit dealer’s bond required to be posted by this section shall not be accepted with respect to any damages in connection with fruit handled under subparagraphs (a)1.-6. if such claim is filed against the bond of the dealer who was granted bond exempt status for such fruit.