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Agriculture Press Release

April 8, 2002

Bronson to negotiate sale of Florida cattle to Puerto Rico

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson will lead a trade delegation to Puerto Rico this week to negotiate a cattle deal on behalf of Florida ranchers that could total $1.25 million.

Bronson will meet with Secretary of Agriculture Fernando Toledo, and Jose Guzman, president of the Beef Improvement Board of Puerto Rico, during the discussions to be held April 11-14 in San Juan.

Puerto Rico is currently seeking to purchase 1,000 to 2,000 head of commercial-grade cattle to improve its beef industry. After details of the sales package are worked out, Puerto Rico will send a buying team to Florida to examine cattle available for export from several Florida ranches.

"Puerto Rico is seeking to improve its beef industry, and naturally they turned to Florida as a source of quality livestock," Bronson said. "Our proximity to Puerto Rico and the cost-effectiveness of shipping through the Port of Jacksonville make Florida an attractive alternative to other cattle-producing states."

Puerto Rico currently operates a marketing order designed to raise the quality of its cattle herds. The program utilizes a checkoff system to collect fees from Puerto Rican ranchers which are used to purchase quality cattle abroad.

Puerto Rico purchased $203,000 worth of Florida cattle over the last two years following earlier trade discussions with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Once received in Puerto Rico, those cattle were sent to various ranches there as determined by cattle experts.

"We are very optimistic about finalizing a trade package," Bronson said. "They are definitely interested in our cattle and have funds available through their marketing order. Plus, by purchasing from Florida, the sale is commission-free. It is clearly a win-win situation for ranchers in both Puerto Rico and Florida."

The trade mission to Puerto Rico is part of the Department’s mission to expand export opportunities for Florida agricultural producers. Exports, including agricultural products, are a major source of income for Florida totaling $50 billion annually. For every $1 billion in exports, approximately 25,000 American jobs are created.

Department marketing representatives continually collect trade leads by attending worldwide trade shows, conducting market research, and maintaining close contact with foreign buyers. This information is especially important to smaller Florida growers who lack the resources to effectively research export markets for potential expansion. While there is an increasing international demand for U.S. products, most agricultural producers require assistance to market their products globally.

Florida’s agricultural industry benefits from a multi-tiered advertising campaign coordinated by the Department. The Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC) is an identification and promotional program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers worldwide to easily identify Florida-produced agricultural products at retail stores.

FAPC members are entitled to use the "Fresh from Florida" and "From Florida USA" logos on their packaging and advertising to help enhance product identification among consumers. FAPC members also benefit from domestic and foreign advertising campaigns that include television, billboard, radio, printed materials and special promotional items. The FAPC provides direct marketing assistance for Florida producers enabling them to gain a higher profile abroad and solidifying Florida’s presence as a world leader in the agricultural industry

For information on joining the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign and other marketing information and exporting assistance, contact:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Marketing and Development
421 Mayo Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
Telephone: (850) 488-4366
Fax: (850) 488-7127


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