SINCE THE ARRIVAL of European explorers in the 1500s, agriculture has played a critical role in the in the history and growth of our state. Today, Florida agriculture helps to produce the food and fiber that people throughout our state, across the nation, and around the world have come to depend on.
Florida’s more than 47,000 commercial farms work day in and day out to produce 300 commodities, and more than 80 percent of those operations are family owned. However, only a handful of Florida farms can boast of continuous family ownership for at least 100 years. In fact, only 248 Florida farms have earned this unique historical distinction.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to honor and recognize those special families and farms that have reached at least 100 years of continuous family farm ownership through the Century Pioneer Family Farm program. Established in 1985, this program acknowledges the cultural and economic benefits that family farms and ranches provide to the state of Florida. Florida’s Century Family Farms represent the original stewards of the land who have helped to preserve our precious landscape. In addition, these farms have helped grow the state’s agriculture industry, which has a more than $120 billion economic impact and supports more than two million jobs.
Established in 1985, this program acknowledges the cultural and economic benefits that family farms and ranches provide to the state of Florida.
From Okaloosa County to Palm Beach County, families who appreciate the value of agriculture and a connection to the land operate Florida’s Century Pioneer Family Farms. One such family, Darren and Heather Jackson, along with their four children, raise around 400 acres of timber on the Mayo farm that has been in their family since 1904. The Jacksons and the 247 other families that have been distinguished as Century Pioneer Family Farms are not only keeping their families’ history of farming and connection to the land alive, they are preserving our state’s rich agricultural heritage as well.
Through the Century Pioneer Family Farm Program, Florida’s oldest farms receive a certificate and a sign that can be posted on their property denoting its significance and place in Florida history. But these farms would not have reached such a milestone if they were interested in quick recognition or gain, Florida’s Century Pioneer Family Farms have placed tradition, a connection to the land, and agriculture above all else.
And for that, I thank them.
article by Florida Agriculture Commissioner ADAM H. PUTNAM