Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Educational Programs and Classroom Resources

Florida's Agricultural Heritage in Paintings by Robert Butler

Promoting Public Awareness

Slideshow of Robert Butler and his paintings

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to help increase public awareness of agriculture’s central role in Florida history as well as its continued importance today.  Back in 1999, with the approach of the new millennium, the Department launched its "New Millennium Agri-Literacy Campaign."  To help with this project, the Department tapped the creativity and historical insight of renowned naturalist painter Robert Butler, who created 12 historic artistic depictions of Florida's agricultural heritage. These paintings were featured at several exhibits from 2000 to 2003, including Florida House in Washington, D.C., and the Florida State Fair in Tampa. They are now on permanent display in the Commissioner of Agriculture's office in The Capitol in Tallahassee.

Meet the Artist

Robert Butler, born the son of a sharecropper, began his career painting the scenes and wildlife around the small farm and ranching community of Okeechobee, Florida, where he grew up. Raised by his mother, Annie Talifer Butler, who always took time to instill the principles of faith and compassion in her family, Butler looks upon his beginnings as "classically American." The father of nine children, this self-taught artist is proud to have raised his family doing what he loves best — painting. In the early days, that required selling his paintings door-to-door or roadside, but with his wife, Dorothy, supporting his efforts, Butler soon rose in notoriety. He is now one of the best-known naturalist painters in the country. Recent trips around the world have added exciting new perspectives to Butler’s creations as he continues his work as a historian with a brush.

History of Florida Agriculture in Paintings

"For many years, I've lived close to nature and witnessed the beauty my privileged eye has been allowed to see. As an artist, it is important to me to share my experiences, and whenever I work, it is the larger view that I strive to maintain. I invite you to look at your experience in the same way. The textured tapestry we call reality is constantly changing. An artist is one of the few who will be privileged to add his or her special splash of color. My love for the land is the strength behind my paintings, and I know there are many others who share my feelings."

— Robert Butler

View the Painting and Artist's Thoughts
Beekeeping in the Pines Farmers' Harvest Ocean Farming Sugar Harvest
Cracker Cowman Fern Garden Shipping Cotton Timber Shadows
Equine Splendor Golden Grove Strawberry Patch Tomato Garden

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