Photo:Duda Ranches contributes to area agriculture, yielding everything from citrus, sugar cane and sod to cattle.
A Legacy of Agriculture
Cattle, citrus and sod are three ways to describe the area’s agriculture.
With 9.45-million acres of Florida farmland generating about $1.72 million, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Brevard holds its own. The Space Coast has a robust, long-standing legacy of cattle and crop raising that contributes to its diverse and evolving economic base.
Take Deseret Ranches, for example.
Owned by the Mormon Church, the property is made up of 295,000 acres across three counties, including Brevard. With about 80 employees, the operation includes cattle, citrus, potatoes and sod, in addition to palm trees and timber. Founded in the 1950s, Deseret Ranches’ leadership works with an eye on the future, focused on protecting the area’s unique wildlife and land.
Diversified land company Duda also owns agricultural operations — its family-business beginnings dating back to 1926. Today, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and its ranches yield cattle, sugar cane, citrus and sod. The fourth-generation family company has owned the Cocoa Ranch since the 1940s. The land is now being turned into master-planned community Viera.
Nursery plants are also grown here in Brevard, with 21 such farms, according to 2017 USDA numbers, and over $2 million in sales.
“Our Cocoa Ranch location has been stewarding this land since the 1940s and portions of the remaining property outside of the Viera development will ultimately be conveyed to the Viera Wilderness Park,” says Drew Duda, senior vice president of Duda Ranches.