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PARTNERING ACROSS COUNTY LINES FOR AGRICULTURE

Feb. 5, 2024

Agriculture has a proud heritage in Putnam County with ferneries and oranges in the south, a huge blueberry industry in the west and the life blood between East Palatka and Hastings of cabbage, potatoes and broccoli along SR 207 with many commercial farms extending into both Putnam and St. Johns counties. And those are just the tip of what Putnam produces annually and the jobs that are supported by farming.

In Putnam County, agriculture resource deputy Sara Werninck covers a lot of ground in her F2






50 investigating crimes that sometimes happen over jurisdictional lines. Sheriff H.D. "Gator" DeLoach and St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick discussed swearing-in the agricultural deputies to having jurisdictional authority in both counties. That discussion came to fruition Friday at Bulls Hit Farms, one of the several working farms that cross county lines.

Now Deputy Werninck along with St. Johns deputies Jerry Gentry and Michael Pedonti are able to work in both counties with ease, but also allow us to get more accomplished through this partnership.

"I would challenge you to find any relationship more close than Putnam and St. Johns Sheriff's offices," Colonel Joe Wells said during the ceremony. "There are a lot of places in Florida where farming only exists in the history books. That is not the case in Putnam and St. Johns. Our farmers have land and packing houses on both sides of the county line and it just makes sense."

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