See how Florida beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through land-saving, wildlife-preserving, and award-winning environmental efforts.
Just outside one of the country's fastest growing residential development areas lies Blackbeard's Ranch, managed by 6th generation Florida cattle rancher Jim Strickland. Although under tremendous pressure to develop, Strickland has consistently fought to preserve his land and educate Floridians about the importance of conservation. As a founding member of the Florida Conservation Group, Strickland is committed to protecting Florida's water and wildlife. From the installation of wind- and solar-powered water troughs to placing one third of his ranch into a permanent conservation easement, Strickland is doing all he can to preserve Florida's fragile wetlands. What's more, the ranch regularly hosts visitors of all ages, so that Strickland can demonstrate the importance of cattle ranching to land conservation to the public. For their commitment to sustainability, Blackbeard's Ranch was awarded the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP).
"A lot of people say, 'Well Jim, are you looking for the silver and the doubloons and the jewels...that Blackbeard buried?' I said I would love to find it, but the real treasure is the land itself." - Jim Strickland, Managing Partner, Blackbeard's Ranch
Meet Steven "Beaver" Yoder of Altha, Florida. A third generation beef rancher, the Yoder family has tended the same land in Florida since 1952. After many years also growing peanuts and cotton on their land, the Yoder's now focus their efforts on their diverse cattle operation, which includes cow-calf, stocker, and feedlot sectors. Their location in the Florida panhandle, an area with a unique pine plains landscape is much different from the coastal plains and flat woods of peninsular Florida. This provides the Yoder family an opportunity to partner with area crop farmers whose rich forage-growing soils provide an ideal location for grazing cattle. This provides cattle farmers an opportunity to rotate the use of their land in the off-season, and the Yoder's use this as an opportunity to graze and grow their calves under the Florida sunshine for several months longer.
Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, one thing remains constant – the shared commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way by using the latest technology and resources. Today, there are more than 886,000 cattle and 15,000 beef farmers and ranchers throughout Florida. Learn more about Florida beef farmers and ranchers and how they're raising beef from the pasture to the plate.
Raising cattle in Florida dates back to 1521 when Juan Ponce DeLeon first brought cattle and horses to North America. However, Florida is most well-known for its expansive citrus groves that total 74 million citrus trees.