Bureau of State Farmers' MarketsDivision of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
2006-2007 Overview of Activities
The Bureau of State Farmersí Markets manages four major program initiatives: State Farmersí Markets; Community Farmersí Markets; Women, Infants, and Children/Farmersí Markets Nutritional Program (WIC/FMNP); and County Fair permitting.
State Farmersí Markets tenants and clients marketed over $665 million in wholesale value of produce, dairy, frozen fish, and value-added products during fiscal year 2006-2007. The bureau operated 13 wholesale farmersí markets during the fiscal year. These markets offer a mix of wholesale and retail produce and attendant services such as coolers, truck weigh scales, farm supply, restaurants, and brokerage sales and shipping businesses. At yearís end the available space for market tenants was 85 percent occupied for a total of more than 1.9 million square feet of warehouse, office, and parking space.
Hurricane repair projects on the affected state market sites have made major strides in the recovery from the devastating storms of 2004 and 2005. Of the sites damaged by the storms of 2004, the repairs at Sanford and Wauchula have been completed. The Sanford hurricane reconstruction project expenses were $675,000 and the hurricane reconstruction expenses in Wauchula were $3.7 million. The repairs at the Fort Myers State Farmersí Market site were started with an anticipated total cost of $5.4 million and an expected completion date of December 2007. The Fort Pierce State Farmersí Market site reconstruction projects continue with a guaranteed maximum price of $19,483,862 and are expected to be completed by April 2008. The Immokalee State Farmersí Market hurricane reconstruction has an anticipated total project cost of $9 to10 million.
More than 200 farmers operating at 23 community retail markets participated in the Women, Infants, and Children/Farmersí Market Nutrition Program (WIC/FMNP) this year. By promoting the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables to WIC mothers and children, this program encourages a healthy diet while boosting farmersí sales at participating locations. The program was offered in 17 counties and provided over 34,000 WIC recipients with information about proper nutrition and the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diets.
The County Fair permitting section issued permits for 50 fairs. Approximately $300,000 was distributed to these fairs and other public organizations as agricultural premium and awards reimbursements. These awards encourage participation by Floridaís youth in agricultural programs.
The popularity of retail farmersí markets continues to grow in Florida. There are over 75 retail markets promoted on the Departmentís web site.