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Agriculture rebounds in Hillsborough | Business

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Agriculture rebounds in Hillsborough
Agriculture rebounds in Hillsborough

Hillsborough County, FL -- The Hillsborough County Agriculture Industry Development Program and County Extension recently released the agriculture sales and acreage estimates for 2010 and despite a sagging economy and a hard winter, agriculture in the county has made a strong recovery.

According to the data, the 2010 sales estimate of County agriculture products is almost $816 million, up nearly 5 percent from 2009.  The total land area devoted to agriculture in the county is 258,979 acres; and although the amount of farmland has decreased 2.4 percent since 1997, the production value of the land is up 65 percent due to the increased farming of higher-value-per-acre commodities, such as strawberries and blueberries.

Hillsborough County covers more than 1,000 square miles, of which 39 percent is used for agriculture production.  The county ranks as the 4th largest producer of agricultural products in the state, and 59th out of 3,076 counties in the United States.  Hillsborough has 2,843 farms, the 2nd most of any county in Florida.

Hillsborough County produces 90 percent of the strawberries grown in Florida; nearly 11 percent of the strawberries grown in the nation; as well as the most tropical fish of all counties in the state. Strawberries continue to be the highest sales crop at $366,046,522, which is almost 45 percent of the County's total agricultural sales.  Hillsborough also produces 14 percent of Florida's tomatoes and 5 percent of the tomatoes grown in the U.S.

The next highest sales crops after strawberries are:

  • Ornamental plants at second with $144,403,830, accounting for 17.7 percent of annual sales.
  • Vegetable production at third at $140,000,000, with 17.2 percent of annual sales.
  • Aquaculture at fourth with $27,577,981 and 3.4 percent of annual sales.
  • Beef cattle/pasture fifth at $20,078,142 for 2.5 percent of annual sales.

Local agriculture generates additional local economic impact by supporting related businesses such as banking, real estate, transportation, packaging, equipment, seed, agricultural suppliers and services, and marketing firms.

According to a study completed in 2005, for every dollar of agricultural goods sold outside of the county, an estimated $l.86 is added to the local economy as a result of indirect and induced benefits.

Release courtesy of Hillsborough County.

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