Florida agriculture by the numbers (infographics)

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Tom Mitchell picks a successful career in the grapefruit business

A pharmaceutical salesman turned citrus businessman, Tom Mitchell jumped into Florida agriculture with both feet and has been on the go since. 

Taking a job in 2009 with Riverfront Packing Co. in Vero Beach, Mitchell joined the third-generation Scott family business that grows, packs and markets grapefruit both in this country and abroad.  Before that, much of the Alabama native’s close encounters with grapefruit may have been a class of juice.  

For some, that inexperience in a challenging industry could be a handicap. But for Mitchell, it was an opportunity. Read more...


Hops gaining interest as alternative Florida crop

As the craft beer industry continues to grow with new breweries sprouting up weekly, so does the demand for locally grown hops.

Florida is no exception, with roughly 200 small-scale craft breweries in the state. It was this burgeoning industry that planted the seed in the head of Simon Bollin, agribusiness development manager at the Hillsborough County Economic Department, about trying to develop a Florida-grown hops industry.

“I was talking with my boss about the direction of my program and the craft beer industry came up,” Bollin said. “I went out and started meeting with craft breweries in Hillsborough County. Two issues consistently came up, and one of those was hops. At the time, the price of hops was fairly high, if you could even get hops.”