Ag Census: Specialty crops still dominate Florida's ag

06/26/2014 12:07:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

click image to zoomwatermelonCourtesy Agricultural Research ServiceFlorida growers harvested 20,418 acres of watermelon in 2012, according to the Ag Census. That compares with 20,693 acres in the 2007 census.Specialty horticulture accounts for the bulk of Florida's total agricultural products sold, according to figures from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

Broken down, 64 percent of the state's total market value of ag products comes from fruits and nuts; nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod; and vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

That puts the Sunshine State in the top three states nationwide in sales in these three categories, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture blog.

As of the 2012 census, Florida had 465,000 acres of oranges, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the nation's total orange acreage.

In adition, Florida has more than 250,000 acres in vegetables and 598,600 acres dedicated to fruits, nuts and berries.

Organic production also has boomed, increasing 385 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the census. As of 2012, the state had 171 certified organic operations producing about $83 million in farmgate value.

The state's farm demographics also show diversification.

While about 20 percent of farmers nationwide have been farming for fewer than 10 years, almost 26 percent of Florida farmers fit into this category.

About 35 percent of all Florida farm operators are female.



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