Agriculture Grows Florida Economy
Date Published: 2011-04-13
Author: Neale Montgomery
Agriculture is important to Lee County and the State of Florida on several levels. Agriculture is an important economic engine. In 2007, agriculture represented $58.2 billion of the Gross State Product, and 13.3 % of all the jobs in the state. Not only does agriculture provide important jobs and revenue, agriculture keeps approximately 9.25 million acres of Florida green (47,500 farms). A significant amount of money and time is being invested in the effort to “go green”, but it would be much better and more efficient to make it easier for farmers and grove owners to stay in business so Florida can stay green. While agriculture is important to Florida, so, too, is Florida important to agriculture. Florida ranks first in the value of production of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, sugarcane for sugar and seed, squash, watermelons, sweet corn, fresh-market snap beans, fresh market tomatoes and fresh market cucumbers, and second in the country in the value of production of strawberries, bell peppers and cucumbers for pickles. To remain successful, agriculture needs to retain its land value in order to obtain the necessary lines of credit to run a successful agricultural operation. Agriculture also needs water. Since agriculture is necessary for the economic health of the state, we all need to be concerned about the persistent threat to agriculture from state and local regulations.