OKEECHOBEE — Three events planned at Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center will highlight local agriculture.
At their Oct. 26 meeting, commissioners approved a fee waiver request in the amount of $2,533.23 from Lauren Butler, representing the Florida Cattlemen's Institute & Allied Trade Show, to host the 2024 Florida Cattlemen's Institute & Allied Trade Show at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center on Wednesday Jan. 24, 2024.
According to the county staff report, the Florida Cattlemen's Institute and Allied Trade Show was established in 1982 to create the opportunity for Florida Cattlemen to attend a trade show and educational program specific to the beef cattle industry. The program format features 50 trade show vendors from all across the southeastern United States coupled with a themed educational program. Educational programs usually consist of at least four speakers from across the nation, and themes vary from cattle marketing to pasture maintenance and everything in between. The program also recognizes one individual from the industry who has supported the program.
In the past, this event has been held at the Kissimmee Valley Livestock Arena, the Turner Center in Arcadia, and the Highlands County Fairgrounds. In 2023 the show was moved to Okeechobee and held at the Agri-Civic Center.
The benefit to the Okeechobee area will be from the economic impact of hotel stays, restaurant visits, and retail sales. The county administrator recommended approval of the fee waiver, recognizing the benefit of the economic impact to the businesses of Okeechobee, and the recognition brought to the Okeechobee area as the heartland of the beef cattle industry in Florida.
Commissioners also approved waiving the use fee for the Agri-Civic Center for the annual AgVenture program for area fourth graders.
AgVenture 2024 is planned for Jan. 9, 10 and 11, 2024. Cleanup will take place on the afternoon of Jan. 11, performed by AgVenture volunteers with Agri-Civic Center staff assisting.
Okeechobee AgVenture, Inc. is a local organization that offers a free program to Okeechobee area fourth graders -- public, private and home schooled -- which provides the opportunity to gain experience and understanding of local agricultural industries. This program is free to all fourth graders and is planned and executed by volunteers.
AgVenture has been held at the Agri-Civic Center annually since 2014, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In related business, the commission also approved the request to waive the use fee for the Agri-Civic Center for the annual Farm-City Week Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 16. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., with lunch served at noon. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at Okeechobee Farm Bureau or the County 4-H/Extension Office.