|The Importance of Agriculture|
Floridas 40,000 commercial farmers are among the most productive in the world, furnishing the nation with a dependable and safe supply of food, and providing an economic base for the state.
In 1997, Florida farmers utilized a little more than 10 million of the states nearly 35 million acres to produce more than 25 billion pounds of food, and more than 2 million tons of livestock feed.
Florida ranks No. 9 nationally in the value of its farm products, and No. 2 in the value of its vegetable crops. State farmers sold their commodities for $6.119 billion cash receipts in 1997 with an additional $430 million cash receipts for timber harvested in 1996, and made more than an $18 billion direct impact on the states economy; and added a direct and indirect impact of $53 billion.
State farmers led the nation in the production of 18 major agriculture commodities in 1997: oranges, sugarcane, fresh tomatoes, grapefruit, bell peppers, sweet corn, ferns, fresh cucumbers, fresh snap beans, tangerines, tropical fish, temple oranges, fresh squash, radishes, gladioli, tangelos, eggplant, and house plants. Florida produced more than 20 percent of the nations fresh vegetables with sales of more than $1.5 billion. Vegetables accounted for more than 25 percent of Florida agriculture sales in 1997. Citrus sales topped $1.3 billion, accounting for more than 22 percent of state agriculture sales in 1997.
Florida farmers account for more than 50 percent of the U.S. cash receipts for 9 major commercial crops: 100 percent of the tangelos and temple orange; 95 percent of the tropical fish; 80 percent of the eggplants and ferns; 60 percent of the grapefruit; 57 percent of the oranges and 53 percent of the sugarcane.
Florida grows 77 percent of the U.S. grapefruits and nearly 47 percent of the world supply. The state also produces 75 percent of the nations oranges and almost 20 percent worldwide. More than 95 percent of the oranges went to make more than 1.5 billion gallons of juice in 1997.
Florida livestock and products sales amounted to $1.1 billion in 1997, accounting for more than 20 percent of the states sales. Florida is the leading milk-producing state in the Southeast, ranks 13th nationally in cash receipts and 14th nationally in production with more than 285 million gallons with sales of more than $400 million in 1997. Florida ranks 14th nationally in the production of eggs and 16th nationally in the production of broilers, accounting for combined sales of more than $350 million in 1997.
Floridas horse industry is known around the world for its breeding and training of thoroughbreds. Florida has produced 39 national thoroughbred champions and 47 equine millionaires. Florida-bred horses won $130 million in North American purse money in 1997. The industry has a $2.2 billion impact on Floridas economy.
Florida also is a major producer of flowers and foliages, and ranks No. 2 nationally in horticulture production, with sales of over $1 billion.
To get the job done, Florida farmers employed more than 60,000 farm workers monthly in 1997, and paid them more than $1 billion. Total farm production expenses were $4.6 billion. Florida farmers rank 10th nationally in net income of $1.715 billion.