Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has announced that a delegation of livestock ranchers and government officials from the Cayman Islands is visiting Florida to purchase cattle, goats and farming equipment.

The trade mission is hosted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in conjunction with about two dozen of the state’s agricultural producers. The visit is part of a long-standing trade relationship fostered by Florida and the Cayman Islands. For more than 15 years, buyers from the Cayman Islands have annually toured Florida ranches and farms to purchase breeding stock and other agricultural products.

With approximately $50 million in annual sales, Florida ranks 20th among U.S. states in the value of live animal and meat exports. While the Cayman Islands has long been an importer of Florida agricultural products, livestock operations there are eager to replenish their breeding stock, some of which was lost during Hurricane Gustav.

During the trade mission, Cayman Island representatives will tour agricultural facilities in Alachua, Hernando, Levy, Manatee, Okeechobee, Pasco and Polk counties.

“Exports are extremely important to Florida’s economic well-being,” Bronson said. “In fact, nearly one-fifth of our state’s yearly agricultural production is exported. It is important we continually work to maintain and expand overseas markets for Florida agricultural products in this highly competitive global economy.”

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services marketing representatives continually collect trade leads by attending trade shows, conducting market research, and maintaining close contact with foreign buyers. This information is especially important to smaller Florida growers who lack the resources to effectively research export markets for potential expansion. While there is an increasing international demand for U.S. products, most agricultural producers require assistance to market their products globally.

Florida’s agricultural industry benefits from a multi-tiered marketing campaign coordinated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC) is an identification and promotional program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers worldwide to easily identify Florida-produced agricultural products.

FAPC members are entitled to use the “Fresh from Florida” and “From Florida USA” logos on their packaging and advertising to help enhance product identification among consumers. The FAPC provides direct marketing assistance for Florida producers enabling them to gain a higher profile abroad and solidifying Florida’s presence as a world leader in the agricultural industry.

For information on joining the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign and other marketing information and exporting assistance, contact:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
 Division of Marketing and Development
, 421 Mayo Building
, Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-0800.

Telephone: (850) 488-4366
 Fax: (850) 921-1727
 Email: intl@doacs.state.fl.us
 Web: www.Florida-Agriculture.com