Cracker Country

The cattle industry has long been a key part of Florida’s economy. In fact, the state just recently celebrated its rich 500-year history with the 2022 Great Florida Cattle Drive. As the centuries have passed, the state has seen a lot of change, still cattle ranching remains an important part of the Florida heritage.

Florida ranchers own more than 1 million cows, heifers, and bulls. That yields a calf crop of more than 800,000 calves annually. 

In this edition of Central Florida Ag News, we speak with the presidents of the Florida and Polk County Cattlemen’s associations to find out how the ranchers are managing as challenges from development and inflation make it more difficult to turn a profit. They offer precious insight, but it’s the sentiment that stuck with me. 

To be more specific: “The cattle industry has been here for 500 years, and I don’t see a reason why it won’t be here for another 500 years,” Wes Carlton told us. 

We find that kind of perseverance among so many of the men and women in agriculture, but it never gets old. 

Against all odds, we will prevail. Nobody knows that more than Florida ranchers and growers.

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