Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1994 Winner

Babcock Florida Company
Punta Gorda, Florida

Fred C. Babcock, chairman of the board of Babcock Florida Company, became president in 1948 upon the death of his father, E.V. Babcock. Under Babcock’s stewardship, the Crescent B Ranch has matured into a showcase of conservation-oriented, multiple-use land management.

The Crescent B Ranch encompasses 90,000 acres in a single block of land situation in Charlotte and Lee counties. An extensive commercial cow/calf operation stretches across 16,000 acres of improved pasture and 50,000 acres of native range lands. Other land uses at the Crescent B Ranch include the leasing of nearly 5,000 acres for vegetable and seed production, along with forestry and wildlife management.

Great care has been taken over the years to preserve the hydrologic functions of the ranch’s wetland systems, and to maximize wildlife corridors and habitat edge benefits. These innovative efforts were decades ahead of conventional wisdom dealing with environmental preservation.
Babcock management has a firm belief that the fundamental right of private land ownership carries with it a heavy responsibility to be a caretaker of the air, land, water and wildlife resources, while also working to ensure that all activities are designed to be compatible with the long-term functioning of Florida’s natural systems.

Babcock Florida Company was named “Florida’s Tree Farmer of the Year” in 1987, in recognition of its leadership role in soil conservation techniques. This award was not given for establishing huge monocultural stands of even-aged pines, but for demonstrating how to manage southern forest systems in an ecological way by utilizing natural regeneration methods, controlled burning and selective cutting.

The Babcock Company is extensively involved in community outreach and educational programs. It sponsors a tour program called the “Eco-tourism, Babcock Wilderness Adventures,” a prototype ranch tour that exposes tourists to a fun introduction to the natural and cultural history of rural Southwest Florida. A prominent theme of the tour is the compatibility of agriculture with environmental protection. -- 1994


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