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Agriculture Press Release

August 19, 1999

Crawford Lauds Record Ag Sales

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today welcomed news of the record-setting $6.6 billion in sales of state agriculture products for 1998.

"Im delighted that our farmers are continuing to increase their sales despite our many trade issues and adverse weather conditions threatening their very survival," Crawford said.

Federal government data released this week showed Florida farmers had cash receipts of $6,686,356,000, up 3.8 percent over revised 1997 receipts of $6.444 billion, and up 11.7 percent over the last three years. The previous record of $6.240 billion had been reached in 1989.

Farm receipts had declined through the mid-90's as a negative result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a series of storms, floods and droughts. Cash receipts dipped to $5.9 billion in 1995.

Florida net farm income rose 5.3 percent in 1998 to $2.225 billion. It was the third annual increase after a sharp downturn in 1995 to $1.887 billion.

"This is all very encouraging," Crawford said, "and once again, proves the resilience of the Florida farmer."

In 1998, cash receipts for all crops reached a record $5.354 billion, up 4.6 percent from the previous year, and 10.4 percent from three years ago. Its only the fourth time in history, but the third year in row, in which crop receipts have topped $5 billion.

Increased sales for oranges led the way to the record year with sales of $1.2 billion, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. Receipts for oranges represents 20 percent of all state sales.

Oranges more than off set the continued decline in grapefruit sales, down 27.4 percent to only $145 million, the lowest since 1983 ($130 million).

Vegetable and melon sales, boosted by tomatoes, potatoes, snap beans and squash, increased 5.3 percent to $1.54 billion. Tomato sales increased to $506.6 million, the highest in six years. Tomatoes account for 33 percent of all vegetable and melon receipts and 7.6 percent of all cash receipts.

Sugar cane sales, up 8.8 percent to $472.3 million, helped prevent the overall field crop segment of the receipts from suffering a disastrous season in North Florida, where receipts for corn, cotton and soybeans suffered a combined loss of 62.5 percent ($42.3 million) due to the severe drought.

Foliage and floriculture also had a slight downturn, with sales of $653.7 million, down 0.3 percent.

Livestock receipts of $1.331 billion increased only 0.5 percent, even though broiler sales were up 10.2 percent and milk sales were up 4.7 percent. Sales for cattle, calves and eggs all declined in 1998.

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For more information:

Bob Blankenship
(850) 488-3022


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