If you like to grow things, you’ll love Sumter County. For more ag-specific information, visit our Agricultural Alliance website at www.sumteragriculture.org.
Our zone 9 climate is perfect for a wide variety of crops – and the region’s mild winters allow Sumter farmers to grow fresh veggies year-round. Oranges were a big part of Sumter agriculture until the freeze of 1894-95 wiped out most of the groves… though if you look around, you’ll still see plenty of oranges today. After the big freeze, cattle farming rapidly grew to take orange growing’s place at the top of the county’s agricultural industry, followed by vegetables. Now, thanks to new low-chill varieties developed by the University of Florida, this is also a great place to grow peach- es and blueberries.
In Sumter, a variety of U-Pick and produce stands are also open to the public. Pick thornless blackberries in the morning… visit a local produce stand for some lunch… and nab some fresh bread and honey at the farmer’s market for dinner. Beyond that, for the more experimental farmer or home gardener, a fantastic variety of temperate and tropical species can be cultivated in our unique region. Jujubes, loquats, mulberries, strawberries, pecans, persimmons, plums, apples, sweet potatoes, pears, cassava, kumquats, sugarcane and guavas thrive side-by-side in Sumter County – the greenery is only limited by your imagination.
For the livestock farmer, Sumter’s warm and mild climate keeps good pasture on tap – one of the reasons that our beef is enjoyed across the United States. The cattle industry is also bolstered by our excellent central location and plentiful land. In fact, Florida is one of the leading cattle raising states in the US, second only to Texas in number of heads.
Central Beef Industries, located in Center Hill, is responsible for approximately 98% of the beef processed in the State of Florida–about 800 head per day. Supplying this growing demand is accomplished in part by the Webster Cattle Market, the largest cattle auction house in the Southeastern US, generating over $63 Million in sales per year.
The Sumter County Agricultural Extension of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) provides valuable support to our farmers by sharing the University of Florida’s vast body of research. From pests to crops, animal husbandry to citrus diseases, recommended varieties to soil testing and help with weed control, the Sumter County Extension packs a formidable arsenal of useful information.
Sumter County Economic Development is here to help with your business needs. Give us a call to discuss your agri-business opportunities in Sumter County.