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State Marketing BureauKnow Florida
The Florida State Marketing Bureau was created by the Legislature of 1917, as a division of the State Department of Agriculture. It was one or the first departments of its kind to be created. It began operations just four years after the Federal Bureau of Markets was established. It was a real pioneer in its field. It had to blaze new trails, for there were no agencies of its kind which had been in existence long enough for us to follow their policies, or avoid their mistakes.
After grades were established on fruits and vegetables, and these products were being standardized, we realized that one of the greatest needs of the Florida fruit and vegetable industry was information in regard to standards and grades under which these products could move and by which they could be sold. To encourage Grade A, Shipping Point Inspection Service was inaugurated in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. In the final sense, Federal-State Shipping Point Inspection for grade and condition is fundamentally grade work. It substantiates merits proclaimed for products in arranging sales, advertising or otherwise, and provides an impartial, disinterested means of adjusting claims aid disputes between shippers and receivers, and a fair basis of settling transportation claims. The evidence given in the certificates affords a concrete and tangible basis in making sales, since it provides the shipper with more certainty in the merit and quality of his product, and gives the buyer more confidence and assurance in making f. o. b. purchases. It aids the shipper in intelligently bargaining with the buyer and protects him in instances of unwarranted complaints or rejections, and furnishes prima facie evidence in both State and Federal Courts in case of litigation.
It required time to put this project into operation, but during the 1922-23 season, with one inspector, 162 cars were inspected at shipping point in Florida. Inspection gradually grew until eleven years later, 1933-34, with a maximum of 250 men, in mid-season, equivalent to 57,977 cars were inspected, and during the 1934-35 season certificates were given on 42,852 cars, or more than 100,000 during the two seasons.
Market News Service
It was largely through the efforts of the State Marketing Commissioner and the cooperation of the State Marketing Bureau that the southeastern circuit providing market news to Florida was made available.
A daily miscellaneous vegetable market bulletin issued from Jacksonville gives to every grower in the State who requests the service a complete report including shipments, passings, market prices and conditions of the Florida products on all the larger northern and central markets. This report, in addition to fruit and vegetable data, includes poultry and egg information on the Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa markets. F. 0. B. cash track information for practically all the miscellaneous vegetables in Florida is included so that the growers in every section of the State not only know exactly what the product is worth F. 0. B. cash track, but also what on the same day the product is worth on the destination markets. Not only does this report go to more than 2,200 shippers each day from the Jacksonville office, but there is a special field reporting station conducted throughout the season at Sanford for reporting celery; at Hastings for potatoes; at Pompano and later at Belle Glade, for beans and miscellaneous vegetables; at Plant City for strawberries; at Bradenton for celery and the Lower West Coast for vegetables; at Leesburg for watermelons; and there is a general citrus report issued throughout the season at Orlando which has provided indispensable service to citrus growers, shippers, buyers, distributors and the trade. Arrangements were made this season to issue a special daily report covering the Sanford State Wholesale Farmers Market, which gives the growers in the State f.o.b. prevailing market prices on all the miscellaneous vegetables.
There has, in addition to the above Statewide blanket market news service, been a special livestock market quotations service inaugurated, and each Tuesday and Friday a complete market report of hogs, cattle, etc., is issued from this office covering the important southeastern markets and Chicago. The poultry and egg producers have had available in the daily press furnished from this office since 1919, an egg and live poultry quotation service which has been used as a sales basis for ninety per cent of the eggs produced in Florida.
Beginning with only a brief report and with the whole project in charge of only one representative, we now have some nine stations with two or more representatives at each station, not to mention two of the regular Bureau force maintained for issuing the Jacksonville daily report. There is no excuse for any grower or shipper of citrus fruit, vegetables, livestock or poultry products in the State not having available complete market information every day in the season—and a very fortunate part is that the service is provided absolutely free by the State and Federal Bureaus cooperating.
It has been estimated that this market information, which is carried on and paid for jointly by the Florida State Marketing Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture, covers sale transactions on Florida produce valued at from $75,000,000 to $85,000,000.
During the past six years, since the Legislature extended the Bureau's activities by increasing the number of marketing specialists, the Commissioner and three marketing specialists have taken part in 2,190 growers' and shippers' meetings, attended by 202,398 people; and 5,112 marketing conferences, attended by 35,784 growers and shippers; assisted in carrying on 1,674 cooperative sales at which equivalent to 3,049 cars of livestock, poultry, eggs, wool, syrup, hay, corn, etc., were sold for cash amounting to a total of $3,206,405. During these same six years we have assisted in selling from the office 5,720 cars of these same products, which brought $4,019,750, and in less than carlots products valued at $2,431,638—a grand total of $9,657,948.
The Assistant Commissioner and other members of the office force have given special marketing advice and assistance on the preparation, distribution or sale of 49,662 cars, which brought to the sellers $32,826,869, and in less than carlots produce which brought $11,428,518, and collected or adjusted accounts amounting to $112,800.
Excerpt from "State Marketing Bureau" Know Florida, Issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Circa 1935, pgs. 4-5.
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