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Sugar Cane

Suniland Magazine


One of Florida's chief money crops, in the raising of which there is small risk, is sugar cane. History tells us that the sugar cane has been grown in Florida from earliest times, the sugar mills of the Manatee River district, razed by Federal gunboats, having been said to have supplied the Confederate Army with no small portion of its sugar rations.

At the present time every county in the State of Florida is raising some sugar cane, using it chiefly for the production of syrup, the production from its 20,000 acres amounting to approximately 2,000,000 gallons, valued at nearly a dollar a gallon.

In the past year or two, however, several large sugar enterprises have been inaugurated in the Everglades, which, with its 4,000,000 acres of muck lands, claimed to be potentially the richest lands of their character on the face of the earth, is confidently expected to become eventually one of the world's most important sugar raising regions.

It was Hamilton Disston who first realized the vast potentialities of Florida's muck lands, which, when he came to the state in 1879, were all under water. Mr. Disston felt that these lands when reclaimed could be made to produce sugar on a very large scale, and to that end inaugurated his great drainage scheme. He spent an enormous amount of money in preparing his lands for cultivation and in the construction of a great sugar mill at St. Cloud, near Kissimmee, but never lived to see his great enterprise crowned with success. At that time there were many obstacles to face, such as inadequate transportation and distance from markets, and being newly drained the lands were not sufficiently sweet to produce cane of a high sugar content. Whether sugar growing can be made an immediate commercial success in the Everglades is still hypothetical, although it is conceded that ultimately - that is when these lands have been sweetened through drainage and cultivation - their possibilities in this regard will be illimitable.

Excerpt from: Agassiz, Garnault. "Florida in Tomorrow's Sun."
Suniland, Nov. 1925, Vol.3, No.2., Pgs. 37-45; 88-94; 113-133


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