UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County hosts Farm City Tour Nov. 1

Beef Field Day farm tour, beef cattle, fences, trees. UF/IFAS Photo: Marisol Amador.

BUSHNELL, Fla. — Residents of Sumter County are gathering early today for a tour of the county’s agricultural offerings. Organizers hope participants will walk away with a deeper connection to their food and food sources.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Sumter County office is hosting a Farm-City Tour on Nov. 1. The tour includes a tour of the Bushnell Nursery, the John Graham Ranch, the Webster Livestock Auction and Farmer’s Market and the Florida Bass Conservation Center.

“Farm-City Week has been held since the 1950s as a way to bridge the gap between the producers and consumers,” said Joseph Stacy Strickland, UF/IFAS county Extension director for Sumter and Hernando counties. “Our agricultural enterprises are dependent on consumers and consumers are dependent on our agricultural products. We in the United States are blessed with an abundance of safe, healthy and affordable food.”

Sumter boasts a diverse economy in which agriculture plays a vital role, Strickland said. Over the past five years, there has been a 63 percent increase in the number of farms in Sumter County.  Within the county, there are 1,367 farms on more than 183,000 acres that sell more than $42 million worth of agricultural products a year, he said.

“As with all other industries, agriculture is dynamic. Agriculture is constantly evolving to accommodate consumer preferences, conservation of natural resources, and scientific and technological advances,” Strickland said. “The tour is important because it helps residents gain a greater understanding of how important agriculture and allied industries are to our state and local economy.”

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Sources: Joseph Stacy Strickland, 352-754-4433, jsstrick@ufl.edu