A recent study conducted by the University of Florida showed that Florida’s agriculture and natural resources industries have remained strong since the recession. According to the study, agriculture, natural resources and related industries provided an economic impact of $104 billion to the state in 2011. 

The industries include crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries production; agricultural product and service providers; forest product manufacturing; food product manufacturing; food distribution; mining and nature-based recreation. These industries contributed to 8.5 percent of Florida’s gross domestic product, making them fourth behind real estate, government, and health care industries.

Alan Hodges, a UF/IFAS extension scientist and co-author of the study, said the industries have been particularly helped by growth in exports.

These industries also accounted for employment of nearly 2 million full and part-time jobs, which represents 20 percent of all jobs in the state.  The number of jobs in these industries increased by about 60,000 — or 4.4 percent — from 2010 to 2011.

Employment in agriculture and related industries was highest in larger counties like Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, and Duval. A July 19 article published in the Herald-Tribune reported that family-size farms are popping up over the state.  Most focus on organic produce and are a second source of income for families.  According to the U.S. agriculture census, small family farms make less than $10,000 per year.

The study is the latest report from researchers in UF’s food and resource economics department — part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences — on the industries’ economic contributions. It can be viewed here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FE/FE93500.pdf.