Explore the economic contributions of the Florida forestry industry.

In my latest column in Central Florida Ag News, I discussed the impressive contributions of the Florida forestry industry to the state’s economy. The U.S. forestry industry took a hit with the collapse of the housing industry in 2008, but the Florida forestry industry has bounced back in a big way. The statistics to prove it are found in the report: Economic Contributions of the Forest Industry and Forest-based Recreation in Florida in 2016, released by UF/IFAS. I have a lot of experience in land purchasing and forestry management, so I was pleased to read about the industry’s rebound and continued growth in Florida. See highlights from the report below so you can toot the Florida forestry industry’s horn, too.

Statistics on the Florida Forestry Industry

Florida is well-known for it’s citrus, cattle, and horticulture industries. The forestry industry is joining the ranks of those big industries in The Sunshine State as it is one of the largest agricultural commodity groups in terms of total economic contributions.

According to the report, the Florida forest industry saw $12.55 billion in sales revenues in 2016, an increase of nearly $5 billion from 2003, the last time UF/IFAS reported on the forest industry. When total economic contributions of the forestry industry are taken into account, the Florida forestry industry generated $25.05 billion in industry output and supported 124,104 jobs for Florida citizens.

The industry is comprised of 1,843 business establishments, 78 primary wood-using mills, and 363 secondary wood and paper product manufacturers. There were reportedly 36,055 Floridians directly employed in full- and part-time jobs in 2016, a jump of almost 20 percent over 2003 numbers. Allied industries including forest chemical manufacturing, sawmills, woodworking and paper machinery manufacturing, wholesale trade in lumber and wood, and biomass electric power generation, contribute to these employment numbers.

Nearly half of Florida’s land area is forestland, a total of 17.16 million acres. Longleaf and slash pines make up 33 percent, and oak/gum/cypress forests make up 22 percent of Florida’s forests. Those acres represent a renewable resource that will continue to contribute to Florida’s economy.

Learn more about how AgAmerica supports the forest industry in Florida:

AgAmerica offers timber land loans to support the Florida forestry industry and the forest industries in other states. Contact us today to explore how our custom loans can help meet the needs of your timber operation.