March 18, 1998
Agriculture Week Celebrated in Florida
TALLAHASSEE In an effort to increase public awareness of the importance of agriculture to everyone in Florida and to the nation, the Governor and Cabinet have proclaimed March 15-21 Agriculture Week in Florida, and March 20 (Friday) Florida Agriculture Day.
"This is a week we set aside to reflect on the contributions of our growers and ranchers who feed not only our citizens but people throughout the world," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford.
The observance is part of a national effort coordinated by the Agriculture Council of America to salute the contributions of agriculture. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Agriculture Week and Agriculture Day.
The special week and day are particularly appropriate in Florida, where agriculture stands as the second largest industry in the state, behind only tourism. Economists estimate agricultures economic impact at $53 billion in Florida.
Among highlights of agricultures contributions in Florida are:
- The state leads the nation in the production of 19 major commodities, including oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sugarcane, fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, bell peppers, cucumbers, ferns and house plants.
- Florida ranks ninth nationally in the value of its farm products ($6.13 billion), and second in the value of its vegetable crop.
- Its forestry industry is valued at $4 billion to $5 billion a year.
- In 1996, Florida produced more than 25 billion pounds of food, and more than 2 million tons of feed.
- The states estimated 35,000 farmers and ranchers employ from 60,000 to 200, 000 farm workers each month and paid them more than $1 billion in 1996.
"In an increasingly urban state like Florida, some of us lose sight of the contributions made by our food and agriculture industry," Crawford said. "But it is a huge, vital industry that feeds our people, serves as a major employer and provides a huge economic impact on Floridas soaring economy."
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