The Sunshine State News posted an article this October touting the impact agriculture makes on Florida’s economy. The article reports that there are nearly 48,000 farms on more than 9 million acres in Florida that grow 300 different products. The industry contributes more than $100 billion to our state’s economy and supports 2 million jobs. According to information from Florida Tax Watch, that’s more than tourism brings to Florida.
Speaking of tourism… The University of Florida IFAS extension shared a report about what it would take to add agriculture to the list of tourism related offerings in Florida. Called agritourism, the industry is already seeing a great deal of exposure in states Mississippi, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, where it’s one of the fastest growing tourism markets.
One of the strategies in Mississippi has been to offer agritourism information at all of the state’s welcome centers. The state’s 13 welcome centers showcase different themes each month and recently added agriculture to the lineup. Agritourism brings in a diverse audience. Farm tours are especially popular with school and church groups. The UF study showed that given Florida’s proven success with tourism, favorable climate, abundant wildlife, and the diversity of farming products, Florida farms make great candidates for agritourism operations.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this idea. Do you think Florida should consider adding agriculture to the tourism mix?