For more information:
Martin May
(850) 413-7961

Agriculture Press Release

April 12, 2002

Trade delegation from Australia and New Zealand to tour Thoroughbred facilities in Ocala-Marion County, Bronson announces

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson will host a trade delegation from Australia and New Zealand this month to showcase the state’s Thoroughbred industry and promote exports of Florida horses and equine services.

While in Florida, the trade delegation will tour the Ocala-Marion County area, which is home to approximately 600 Thoroughbred farms, training facilities and other equine support businesses. They will meet with representatives of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and the Ocala Breeder Sales Company during their visit April 19-28.

"By virtue of its location, Australia has become the gateway to Thoroughbred buyers in Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East," Bronson said. "By selling to Australia, Florida breeders can gain access to the entire Pacific Rim market. The export potential for Florida is enormous."

In addition to the sale of Florida-bred offspring, there is a market for shuttle stallion services, in which Florida stallions are transported to Australia for breeding and then returned.

"Promoting the excellence of Florida’s Thoroughbred industry will help the United States establish a market in Australia," Bronson said. "Increasing exports to Australia will create job opportunities within the livestock industry in Florida and the United States."

There are nearly 300,000 horses in Florida, with more than 70 percent involved in showing and recreation. Florida is home to nearly every breed of horse and is represented by equine champions known throughout the world. The Florida horse industry produces goods and services valued at $2.2 billion, and has an overall economic impact estimated at $6.5 billion annually. More than 240,000 Floridians are involved in the horse industry as owners, service providers and employees.

The reverse trade mission is part of a three-year project by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop trade relationships with Pacific Rim countries. Funding for the project is provided by United States Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., (USLGE) a nationwide, livestock-specific, not-for-profit, trade association funded through the United States Department of Agriculture.

The trade development project seeks to overcome basic constraints that currently exist in the market by:

-- Increasing awareness among Australian buyers of the availability of Thoroughbred horses in Florida and the United States;

-- Promoting awareness of the inherent advantages in Florida -- such as climate, soil and water quality, outstanding facilities, and strong support industries -- that facilitate the production of high-quality foals and stallions; and,

-- Improving marketing knowledge among Florida Thoroughbred breeders and owners.

Last year, marketing representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida horse industry met in Queensland, Australia, with Australian Thoroughbred breeders and owners, government racing and tourism officials, and international buyers. The Florida delegation promoted the attributes of Florida Thoroughbreds and explored export opportunities. Australian industry representatives agreed to travel to Florida the following year to view Thoroughbreds and breeding facilities in Ocala-Marion County.

For more information about Florida’s Thoroughbred industry, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (850) 488-4132, or the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association at (352) 629-2160.


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