MSU Extension takes a close look at Florida ag

WE IN FLORIDA have known for quite some time how grand, how diverse, and how wonderful agriculture in the Sunshine State really is — and how much more grand it’s destined to be. Now, a bunch of folks way up north, in the U.S. Midwest, are learning about Florida’s special place in American agriculture, too.

On its website, East Lansing-based Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has posted a nice article titled “Agriculture diversity: Spotight on Florida.” Its summary goes like this: “Agricultural production methods vary from state to state. Take a closer look at Florida agriculture without leaving the Midwest.”

The MSU feature on Florida is part of series of articles on the “innovative and exciting agricultural practices” all across the United States. You’ll be pleased to know that Florida holds a special spot in the series as the lead-in state in MSU Extension’s “parade of states.” (You can pause briefly here in the reading of this column to go find and put on your big “Sunshine State is No. 1” foam finger.)

The Florida article places an emphasis on pasture management, noting that near Walt Disney World in Central Florida is “something equally as enchanting” — production agriculture in Osceola County and its three large commodities of cattle, sod, and citrus.

Here are some additional interesting items MSU Extension shares with its audience:

• “Even in January, there is still green grass available for animal utilization.” (We Floridians and “snowbirds” from up north love the warm wintertime weather that makes the green grass in January possible.)

• “Florida residents do not have the same access to fresh water like we are blessed with in the Midwest, thus Florida is very careful about water use.”

• “If this was your first visit to Florida, you may be surprised to know there are more than one million head of cattle …”

• “In addition to featuring large herds, Florida cattle often rely on ‘crossbreeding,’ or mixing two or more breeds, to help cattle endure the heat.”

This is a fine MSU Extension article about Florida agriculture, but, given the Sunshine State’s ag industry size and diversity, it really only scratches the surface. The article editors made sure to include a link to the University of Florida IFAS Extension website so readers can learn so much more. If you wish to see and read the entire MSU Extension article, you can find it at



BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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