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Bird's-Eye View of Florida Agriculture

Florida State Marketing Bureau



This bulletin is prepared to give to the reader a bird's-eye view of Florida agriculture. No attempt is made to cover the scientific side of production or marketing, however facts in the nature of statistics are given to show where the various crops are grown and livestock produced. The total area of the State is 58,666 square miles, or 35,111,040 acres. Of this area, 2,750,000 acres are in actual cultivation. The population is approximately 1,750,000 people exclusive of the tourists, many of whom maintain homes here as well as elsewhere.


The agriculture of the State is quite diversified, varying from general crops, such as corn, cotton, and tobacco grown in the northern section, to subtropical crops, such as oranges, grapefruit, limes, avocados, cocoanuts, etc., in the central and southern section. Many of the common vegetables are grown in specialized areas all over the State, though the commercial growing of the more tender varieties are confined to the central and southern part of the state.


Livestock production is making rapid advances and cattle raising is practiced in every county. Evidence of this is shown by the fact that records kept when the cattle were dipped for ticks showed there were approximately 1,200,000 cattle in the State. Hog production is confined largely to the general crop area of Florida, beginning below Ocala and extending to Pensacola in the west and Jacksonville in the east.

The producers have been marching in step with progress and thousands of pure bred bulls have been imported during the last few years for use on native cattle, to improve the quality. Good foundation stock has been brought in by the hog raisers, and the quality of the Florida porker is as good as the best.

To improve market conditions, producers have organized many cooperative shipping associations. One of these, located at Trenton, Florida, shipped as many as thirteen cars on one day, and when it is realized that they ship once every week during fall, winter and spring, this is really remarkable.

To aid the livestock men, the Florida Department of Agriculture is sponsoring and building market sheds and shipping pens in many sections of the State, in cooperation with other agencies or the stockmen themselves.

The production and marketing of good quality hogs and cattle by Florida farmers have received attention on a National scale. This is evidenced by the fact that one of the Nation's largest packers has begun the operation of a plant in Florida. Practically all of the large packers have buyers located in the State and make purchases and ship to their plants which are located across the border in Georgia. Some hogs are shipped to packers as far away as Virginia and cattle, especially calves, are shipped to the eastern markets.


Poultry production is carried on in all countries, however the commercial sections are near the large cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Ocala and Pensacola. Turkey production has been making rapid strides, especially in the sand hill sections of the Suwannee River valley, and west Florida where peanut production is heavy.

To foster better production and marketing practices, the poultrymen have organized many county associations, and these have been federated into the Florida State Poultry Producers Association. This organization has brought about the passage of the Egg and Poultry laws, to assure the consuming public a quality product and give the producers protection from unfair trade practices. Many of these Associations market eggs for their members to very good advantage. They hold regular monthly meetings with educational programs where topics of interest are discussed by the members themselves, and also have speakers present from State and Federal agencies, to bring them information on production and marketing subjects.


Honey production is a very important industry because of the profusion of wild flowers. From the citrus blossoms is produced the famous Orange Blossom Honey. From the tupelo trees, growing along streams in west Florida, especially in the Apalachicola River valley, comes the nector that produces Tupelo Honey.

The Citrus Industry

Reports from the Florida State Marketing Bureau show that the production of citrys fruits is the leading agricultural industry of Florida, and represents an investment of $500,000,000. During the 1936-37 season, which closed in July, there were produced 40,601,208 boxes of citrus divided as follows: 19,460,788 boxes of tangerines. This is the equivalent of 102,827 carloads and had a gross value of $68,838,758.

There were 33,201 grove properties with an average of 665 trees per property, or an average of 10.3 acres per grove.

Some of the leading citrus producing counties, based on car-lot shipments in order of importance, are Polk, Orange, Lake, Pinellas, Highlands, Seminole, Pasco, Volusia, and Marion.

The shipping season usually begins in September and extends through July.

Excerpt from: Risher and Hiatt "Bird's-Eye View of Florida Agriculture."
Florida State Marketing Bureau, Oct. 1937, Bulletin No. 86, Pp. 3–5.


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