OKEECHOBEE -- Okeechobee County Commissioners have declared Nov. 16-23, 2022, as Farm City Week in Okeechobee County.
The action came at the Nov. 9 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commission.
The commissioners waived the fees for the use of the Agri-Civic Center luncheon on Nov. 17.
Mickey Bandi of Florida Farm Bureau thanked the commission for supporting agriculture and for providing the use of the Agri-Civic Center.
The 28th Annual Farm-City Luncheon & Agri-Expo will recognize the contributions of Farm-City relationships to Florida’s quality of life. The Farm-City Luncheon also youth 4-H and FFA members who will be the next agriculture industry leaders. The event will be held at the Okeechobee County Agri-Civic Center on State Road 710, Thursday, Nov. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from Kiwanis Club members, at Farm Bureau or the Extension Office, or at the door the day of the event.
According to researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the following Agriculture Facts were reported as of October 2022:
• Florida is 1st in the U.S. in the value of production of tomatoes, oranges, bell peppers, grapefruit, sugarcane for sugar and watermelons. Florida is also 1st in production of non-food products, tropical foliage plants, cut flowers and cut florist greens, potted flowering plants, aquatic plants and ornamental fish.
• Florida’s agriculture and natural resources industries manage about 2/3 of the state’s land area. This land is critical to our water supply, air quality, climate, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation.
• Florida has 47,400 commercial farm operations; with 9.7 million acres of farmland
• Economic Contributors: 2.3 million full and part time jobs, and $146 billion in value added contribution to the state’s contribution to the Gross State Product in 2021.
• Total value of production as of 2021 was $10.2 billion (direct output by crop, livestock, forestry, fisheries).
• Fruit and vegetable values of crops was $6.03 billion and 100,000 jobs as of 2021.
• International exports of Florida’s agricultural products from Florida seaports and airports in 2021 were valued at $5.778 billion.
• Nearly half of Okeechobee jobs are related to food and agriculture. Okeechobee County employment is 15,820; 7,868 of those jobs (49.7% of county employment) are related to food or agriculture.
The proclamation issued by the county commission states: “Florida farmers and ranchers help feed the world by producing a bounty of nutritious foods. They rely upon essential partnerships with urban and suburban communities to supply, sell, and deliver finished products to consumers across the U.S. and around the globe.
“Rural and urban communities working together have built our nation’s rich agricultural resource so that they contribute to the health and well-being of our country and to the strength of our economy.
“During National Farm-City Week, we recognize the importance of this cooperative network. Agriculture employs more than 2 million workers, including farmers and ranchers, shippers, processors, marketers, retailers, inspectors and others who contribute an annual impact of $146 billion to Florida’s economy.
“As they perform their daily work, farmers and ranchers preserve freshwater recharge areas, wildlife habitat and greenspace. Consumers help farm families maintain their superior natural resource conservation practices by purchasing Florida’s agricultural products.
"Farm-City Week activities celebrate the mutually beneficial relationships that support the quality of life we all enjoy. As we gather with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table, we count these relationships among our many blessings. We commend the many Floridians whose hard work and ingenuity provide us with food abundance and reflect the true spirit of our state and nation.”