Highlands County Ag Tours Start in February

by DAVID AUSTIN, UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County

Agriculture is Central Florida’s largest industry. We are known for the many citrus groves and cattle ranches that are the central agriculture vein throughout our county. Most of you may be familiar with caladiums. Highlands County hosts more than 90% of all caladium farms in the world. The town of Lake Placid is the Caladium Capital of the World—quite an impressive distinction for a small rural town. Nestled among citrus groves and caladiums are interesting farms and ranches found off the beaten path. You might drive by them daily without notice, or they may be in some far reach you have never considered driving.

This year, we have three agriculture tours that will give you a close-up look at some of the agricultural gems of Highlands County. The themed tours are going to separate locations so you can pick a tour or go on all three without repeating a stop. 

  • Feb. 1 Tour — Horticulture Tour
    The February 1 horticulture tour includes stops at a large outdoor flowering perennial grower, a vegetable farm, a caladium farm, a sod farm, and Highlands County’s newest winery. 
  • Feb. 15 Tour — Livestock Tour
    The Feb. 15 tour explores the Wild West with cowboys at Rafter T Ranch, Ashton Ranch, Pearce-Lockett Estate, a historical cattle homestead, Milking R Dairy, and Sebring Custom Tanning. 
  • Feb. 29 — Ag and Natural Resources Tour
    Our Ag and Natural Resources tour on Feb. 29 will allow you to visit a local blueberry farm, a family country store dedicated to Florida citrus products, Highlands Hammock State Park, and Sugar Sand Distillery.

Every tour lunch will offer a ribeye steak lunch with all the fixings for a special southern-style experience. 

The price is $95 per person and can be paid at the Extension Office at 4509 George Blvd., Sebring. The Extension office is in the middle of the Bert J. Harris Agricultural Center at the glass door that has the University of Florida on it. We accept checks, online payments, and cash; you must have paid in advance to reserve your spot. You can come to the office or order your ticket online through Eventbrite and learn more about each tour. Eventbrite adds a handling and convenience fee if you use that method. Call the office at 402-6540 to get a link emailed to you or if you have any questions.

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