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Ag Row Crops

Did you know that the third largest employer in Alachua County is the Agricultural industry?  By providing more than 27,000 jobs, agriculture makes up 17.5 % of the county’s workforce.  There are many jobs created in unique areas like row-crop and livestock consultation, farm and construction work, equipment and machinery supply, pest control, food processing, delivery and insurance.  In 2012, agriculture provided over $280 million in business sales.  $679,000 of this revenue was in direct farm sales to farmer’s markets, roadside stands, u-pick operations and sales to CSAs.  Furthermore, agriculture indirectly supports other local business like banking, legal services, real estate, transportation, packing, marketing and food distribution.   There are over 180,000 acres of agricultural land in Alachua County, which is 54% of the total land use.  A large percentage (98%) of farms in Alachua County are considered ‘small farms’ (less than 75 acres) and 88% are individually or family owned.  Most of the agricultural land in Alachua County is designated as pastureland (37.5%) and only 31.3% is designated cropland (Figure 1.)  Agriculture also provides environmental benefits that are not often considered.  Pastureland provides green space as well as space for ground water recharge.  Pine plantations provide wildlife habitat, flood control and a buffer between urban and natural areas.

Along with providing economic and environmental value to the county, agriculture provides delicious local food to the residents of Florida.  Much of the produce from Alachua County can be found in local grocery stores and at Farmer’s Markets.  The unique north Florida environment allows for the production of blueberries, strawberries, watermelons, tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet corn, green beans, peanuts, honey, poultry and grass fed beef.  The next time you enjoy any of these locally produced commodities, don’t forget to thank a farmer!

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UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County 22712 W Newberry Road Newberry, FL 32669 352-955-2402

Hours Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.