When you discuss the big players in Florida agriculture, citrus and beef cattle are usually the topic of conversation, but there’s another sector that deserves recognition for bringing a lot of jobs and revenue to The Sunshine State: The Forest Industry. I have a great deal of experience in land purchasing and forestry management, so I was pleased to read a report released at the beginning of this year by UF/IFAS— the Economic Contributions of the Forest Industry and Forest-based Recreation in Florida in 2016— showing the Forest Industry’s contributions and continued growth in Florida. I wanted to share some highlights from the report so you have talking points the next time the discussion turns to major sectors in Florida agriculture.
Highlights on Florida’s Forest Industry
The Florida forest industry has been growing at such a steady pace that it is one of the largest agricultural commodity groups in terms of total economic contributions. According to the report, the Florida forest industry saw $12.55 billion in sales revenues in 2016, an increase in nearly $5 billion from 2003, the last time UF/IFAS reported on the forest industry. There were 36,055 Floridians employed directly by the industry in full- and part-time jobs in 2016, a jump of almost 20 percent over 2003 numbers.
Furthermore, when total economic contributions are taken into account, the Florida forest industry generated $25.05 billion in industry output or revenues and supported 124,104 jobs for Florida citizens.
Finally, nearly half of Florida’s land area is forestland, a total of 17.16 million acres and those acres represent a renewable resource that will continue to contribute to Florida’s economy.
This column is sponsored by AgAmerica Lending.
BIO: Donald Harden, a Relationship Manager for AgAmerica Lending, grew up in the cattle and citrus business, managing a family ranch of several thousand cattle and horses. He has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate business, and more than 20 years specializing in agricultural sales. Over the years, Don has been honored to serve the ag community in many facets, including as a director and on the board of the cattlemen’s association, as a manufacturer’s representative for ag equipment companies, and as a beef cattle specialist for a national feed company. For more information about Don and the AgAmerica team, call 844.238.5312 or visit AgAmerica.com.