The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services just released "2013: Florida Agriculture by the Numbers," its 176-page report regarding the ag business in our state last year.
I'll save you the trouble of looking up the report yourself online by highlighting some of the most interesting findings here-and I'll make it fun with an interactive quiz. Unless otherwise indicated, the numbers refer to business in 2012. Here goes.
1. Florida's 47,500 farmers produce nearly __________ commodities.
Answer: b. Those 300 commodities are produced on 9.25 million acres of land in the state.
2. Florida produced ______ of the total U.S. value for grapefruit.
Answer: c. That's a lot of grapefruit. In 2012, the state also produced 65 percent of the country's total value for oranges. Dan Sleep, a senior analyst at the state's Department of Agriculture, pointed out that farmers produce their various commodities despite a growing number of agricultural challenges, including hurricanes, freezes, droughts, pests, and international competition. "Each of these tests the skills and commitment of our agricultural industry, and each is overcome annually," said Sleep.
3. Which items had an increased value in 2012 compared with the previous year?
a. tomatoes, oranges and bananas
b. cucumbers, oranges and watermelon
c. tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelon
Answer: b. However, sweet corn, which is listed in item c, also had an increased value compared with 2011.
4. What percentage of Florida oranges were used in 2012 to make orange juice?
Answer: a. I used to wonder why I didn't find oranges "fresh from Florida" at the supermarket, until I learned that the orange business here is primarily for juices.
5. Florida's cash receipts from agriculture in 2011 totaled _________.
Answer: c. That total is 5.4% higher compared to 2010 cash receipts. The leading ag items comprising that total were oranges, greenhouse/nursery and tomatoes.
6. Which agriculture item is a growing force in Florida's agriculture business?
Answer: a. "Five years ago, avocado production appeared to be on the decline, shrinking from $17 million in sales to $12 million in 2007," Sleep said. "Now we've witnessed a complete reversal with a near doubling of cash receipts in 2011 of $25 million and strong gains in yields and production."
7. Where does Florida rank among all of the states for its total agricultural cash receipts in 2011?
a. 3b. 5
c. 17Answer: c. You're not the only one who's surprised. With all of the produce markets in which Florida leads the way, I thought for sure the state would have a higher ranking - not as high as California but certainly closer to it (California has the number one spot). However, it appears that states famous for their cattle and grain businesses, like Iowa, Texas, and Nebraska, lead them to have higher rankings. Florida is also second in the country for its vegetable cash receipts, but it's greatly overshadowed by California's numbers.
8. Ah, lucky 14. For which two ag items does Florida rank 14 out of all the states for its production?
a. honey and cattle
b. cotton and eggs
c. blueberries and potatoes
Answer: b. Who knew?!
9. Which county grew the largest number of citrus fruit in the 2011-2012 growing season?
Answer: c. Polk also had the highest increase in citrus production compared to the previous growing season. Highlands County ranked second.
10. Which three items grown in the state decreased in value and production in 2012?
a. blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes
b. onions, strawberries, and watermelon
c. cucumbers, snap beans, and blueberries
Answer: a. I find that intriguing as those three crops are traditionally big business here. However, I realize that weather and unique circumstances can play a huge role in changing year-to-year statistics.
So - how'd you do on the quiz?
I'll share more nuggets from "Florida Agriculture by the Numbers" in future columns.