When visitors think of Florida, a few things come to mind: beaches, retired folks, oranges. Yet, Florida has so many other great attributes that go unnoticed, but are making a tremendous impact on the economy. My favorite is agriculture. In a recent news announcement on CBS Miami, it was noted that Florida agriculture exports (notably international) are growing. Last year, exports totaled about $4.1 billion, nearly a 2 percent increase from the year earlier.
Who is getting all of our Florida agriculture exports (aka, delicious products)?
Our neighbors to the north, Canada, are our number one clients and grab almost 25 percent of what we export. The hottest commodities are meat, prepared foods, and fruits and vegetables. What this translated to for Floridians is a boon in the economy but also more jobs.
In the newscast, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said increasing exports will lead to more jobs in Florida. Many of our agriculture producers, like the Florida blueberry market, are engaging in opportunities to promote their product. Last year, the Florida Blueberry Association exhibited at tradeshows around the world. In October, representatives exhibited at the Anuga Trade Fair in Cologne, Germany as the only fresh blueberry organization. They also exhibited at the Produce Marketing Association Summit (PMA) in New Orleans, which is considered the Super Bowl of produce marketing in the U.S. Every produce buyer in the U.S. attends. In February this year, representatives attended Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany where an average of 210,000 buyers from across the globe attended.
It seems that many are joining forces to promote the value of Florida’s agriculture, and longtime initiatives are producing results. Someday we may even see visitors marveling over Florida agriculture.