Florida has approximately 9.25 million acres in commercial production on 47,500 commercial farms1, which produce food products not only for Floridians, but also for those from other states and countries. Florida has a substantial presence in agriculture production, given the high-value crops produced in our state, although the state ranks 18th in the U.S. on number of farms, and only 30th in total farmland.
Production of the world-famous Florida citrus crops and other fresh fruits and vegetables is given a major advantage by the state’s favorable climate, which allows farmers to grow a great variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
Florida TaxWatch examined Florida’s storied orange industry in a 2012 report showing that Florida produced more oranges than any other state in the U.S., totaling more than 70 percent of the U.S. supply2. Florida’s leading agricultural crop, oranges provide nearly 18 percent of Florida’s agriculture receipts, and the state exports millions of boxes of fresh oranges, as well as processing more than a hundred million boxes of oranges for domestic and international markets annually. For fresh-market production, Florida harvested 186,700 acres of land in 2012, producing more than $1.1 billion in receipts. This issue of Economic Commentary focuses on other successful products of our agricultural industry: produce, which positions Florida as the second largest fruits, vegetables, and juices exporter in the nation, and whose farming and processing alone contributes $7.65 billion to the Florida economy.3
1 2013 Florida Agriculture by the Numbers. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. November 2013
2 Peeling Back the Florida Orange Industry. Florida TaxWatch. October 2012.
3 Economic Contributions of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Food Industries in Florida in 2012. University of Florida.
» NEXT PAGE: Improving Florida’s balance of trade
Improving Florida’s Balance of Trade
In 2012, Florida had more than $4 billion in international agricultural exports, making it the 7th largest state exporter of agricultural products abroad. The main importers of Florida agricultural products include Canada (with more than $960 million), the Netherlands, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. Of those exports of Florida products, Florida fruits, vegetables and juices make up more than $500 million, making this category second to fresh and frozen meat.4
Florida Leading Cash Receipts
|Crop||Percentage Nationally||National Ranking|
|Source: 2013 Florida Agriculture by the Numbers. 2011 Data|
[Photo: James W. Olmstead, UF/IFAS]
Florida crops lead the way nationally
Florida is either the leading or the second-highest state in percent of U.S. receipts (see table) for many fruits and vegetables, yet Florida agriculture and its farming regions also benefit from crops which do not rank in the top two nationally, but are expanding in acreage and production. One example is blueberries, a Florida industry made possible by agricultural research at the University of Florida. Ralph Sharpe is credited with starting the blueberry breeding program there in the 1950s, and now-retired Professor Paul Lyrene is credited with developing the varietals that now make Florida an important producer in the industry, holding patents on more than 30 varietals that are bred specifically for Florida.
4 Florida Agricultural Overview and Statistics. USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service.
5 Scientist Paul Lyrene Credited as Father of Important Blueberry Industry. Lakeland Ledger. May 27, 2013.
» NEXT PAGE: Florida produce benefits other Florida Industries
Florida produce benefits other Florida Industries
Several industries, including manufacturing, benefit from the wide availability of fruits and vegetables in our state.
The “Food and Kindred Products Manufacturing” industry had an economic output of $1.79 billion in 2010 from fruit and vegetable canning, pickling, and drying. This amount represents 8.4 percent of Florida’s total “Food and Kindred Products Manufacturing” output.
In addition, the Florida transportation and distribution industries greatly benefit from the shipping of our produce to international markets.
Florida’s fruit and vegetable production is an important part of the Florida economy and helps provide fresh, healthy food to Floridians and others outside the state and the country. Exports of these products are important to Florida logistics companies and increase Florida’s already-positive balance of trade.
» NEXT PAGE: About Florida TaxWatch
TAXWATCH CENTER FOR COMPETITIVE FLORIDA ADVISORY BOARD
SENATOR GEORGE LEMIEUX
Chairman of the Board, Gunster
MR. JOHN B. ZUMWALT III
Florida TaxWatch Chairman & Immediate Past Chair, CCF Advisory Board
WILLIAM E. CARLSON, JR
MR. MARSHALL CRISER, III
President, AT&T Florida
Immediate Past Chairman, Florida TaxWatch
MR. DOUG DAVIDSON
Market Executive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
MR. J. CHARLES GRAY
Chairman, GrayRobinson Law Firm
MR. JON FERRANDO
Executive VP & General Counsel, AutoNation, Inc.
GOVERNOR BOB MARTINEZ
Sr. Policy Advisor, Holland & Knight
MR. DAVE MCINTOSH
Trustee, BlueField Ranch Mitigation Bank Trust
MR. JAMES M. REPP
Senior VP, AvMed Health Plans
MS. MICHELLE A ROBINSON
President, SouthEast Region, Verizon
MR. DAVID A. SMITH
Former Chairman, Florida TaxWatch
MR. MICHAEL SOLE
VP for State Governmental Affairs, Florida Power & Light
Mr. NATHAN WILSON
Vice President, The Walt Disney Company
Economic Commentary written by
Jerry D. Parrish, Ph.D., Chief Economist, and Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Florida, and Jennifer Linares, Research Analyst.
Robert Weissert, Chief Research Officer
Chris Barry, Director of Publications
John Zumwalt, III, Chair, Florida TaxWatch
Sen. George LeMieux Chair, Center for Competitive Florida
Dominic M. Calabro, President, CEO, Publisher, and Editor
Florida TaxWatch Research Institute, Inc.
Copyright © Florida TaxWatch, June 2014