Hendry County concludes investigations into monkey farms

Hendry County has completed the investigations regarding possible violations of the Land Development Code (LDC) at the facilities of Primate Products, Inc. (PPI) and The Mannheimer Foundation, Inc (Mannheimer). Based on information gathered and reviewed Hendry County has found no current violations of the LDC, therefore, the current investigation cases are considered closed.

Hendry County Code Enforcement sent Notice of Investigation letters to PPI on March 27 and Mannheimer on April 7. The investigations were initiated as a result of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents which indicated the subject properties were research facilities for non-human primates with testing and experimentation, in addition to breeding.

As part of the investigation each facility was required to respond in writing and site inspections were conducted at both properties. Staff also requested documents from USDA through a Freedom of Information Act and from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWC) through a Public Records Request. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) extension office was consulted on agricultural practices.

Margaret Emblidge, Planning & Community Development Director, stated “we conducted a thorough investigation including research with local, state, and federal agencies involved in regulating agriculture uses. This research was used in making the determination in these current cases.”

Based on the observations made at the site inspection and subsequent information obtained from USDA, FFWC, and UF/IFAS, staff found the uses and activities occurring on the subject properties of PPI and Mannheimer to be in compliance with Hendry County’s land use regulations.

“We will continue to work with and engage these facilities for continued compliance with the County’s Land Development Code,” stated Charles Chapman, County Administrator.

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