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June 24, 2018


Growth Opportunities in Florida Agriculture

Florida growers and ranchers say market conditions are better but still off the peak.

Mike Vogel | 11/1/2012

Wes Parrish
Co-owner (with his wife, Vickie) / Parrish Nursery
President / Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association
Southwest Ranches (west of Fort Lauderdale)

“It’s better, but it’s a small number. We were at a financial seminar a few weeks ago. The speaker said the technical term in economics is the dead-cat bounce. How high does a dead cat bounce? Not high, but it does bounce. That’s about how we are in the comeback. We are a tad better than last year, and last year was a tad better than the year before. Most businesses in our sector are off in the 40% to 55% range. There are a lot of closed gates.

We started out as a liner operation. That’s growing starter plants. That’s how we started, and that part of the business is off 90%. Some associates we know have done very well with edible landscaping.

One of the things we’re working on is trying to create a wider appreciation and recognition of our certification programs. We’re trying to raise the professionalism of the industry.”


Category 2007 2011
Wholesale Value $968 million $835 million
Producers 869 702

Notes: Data doesn't include woody ornamentals, trees, shrubs and sod. Includes only operations with $10,000 or more in sales.

Source: USDA


Thoroughbred Breeding

Boosting Their Odds

The influence of Florida horse racing on South Korea dates at least to the first weeks after World War II, when the U.S. Army set up a camp there within a horse-racing oval. An American sailor called it Hialeah, in honor of the Miami-Dade racetrack. Camp Hialeah closed in 2006, but Korean horse racing has taken off, and that’s been a boon for Florida breeders.

“The South Koreans have made a significant impact,” says Tom Ventura, president of Ocala Breeders’ Sales.

Ventura says international buyers from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Europe and Latin America also come to his company’s sales and buy at different price levels. “One of the highest priced horses last year went to Japan,” he says. Winners of the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, came out of his sales, as did this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, “I’ll Have Another.”

Thoroughbred sales improved this year, Ventura says, and his firm saw significant increases in sales of what are called “2-year-old in training.”

Ocala Breeders' Sales

Year Thoroughbreads Sold Revenue (millions)
1996 3,117 $49.0
2000 4,088 $91.0
2005 4,125 $113.2
2010 2,490 $65.4
2011 2,547 $72.6
2012 2,252 $84.1
Source: Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.


South Korean Horse Buyers
(Ocala Breeders' Sales)

Year Horses Bought Revenue
2000 15 $172,700
2005 117 $1.56 million
2010 137 $2.56 million
2011 152 $2.95 million
2012 101 $2.26 million
Source: Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.

Tags: Agriculture

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