Get an update on the push to designate Florida Cracker Cattle as Florida’s Official Heritage Cattle Breed.

Did you know that state symbol designations, such as the designation of an official state bird, flower, or animal, could be scheduled to be repealed? Such was the case for the Loggerhead Turtle as the official state saltwater reptile and the Florida Cracker Horse as the official state horse. Their designations were scheduled to be repealed July 1st, 2018. Instead of a repeal, a proposal was filed to reenact the designations, and to add another state symbol designation: Florida Cracker Cattle as Florida’s official state heritage cattle breed. See details of the designation below.

History of Florida Cracker Cattle

The cattle that were the “heritage livestock” for Cracker cattle were brought to Florida in the 1500s by Spanish explorers, according to Cracker cattle breed history on FloridaCrackerCattle.org. Over the centuries in the dense, low-nutrient environment of the Florida scrub, the Cracker cow developed its breed-defining characteristics: a generally small stature, upturned horns, a wide variety of red and black colorations and patterns, and a hearty makeup.

It was very common to cross Cracker cattle with other breeds, either due to convenience or to blend traits. Thus, it is common for Florida Cracker Cattle to have other breeds in their heritage. An effort to save Florida Cracker Cattle from extinction due to cross breeding was started in the 1970s by the Ag Commissioner at the time, Doyle Connor. Since then, the Cracker cattle breed has become synonymous with Florida’s rich cattle ranching history.

Making Florida Cracker Cattle Florida’s Official Heritage Cattle Breed

In September of 2017, Representative MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, filed a proposal that would add the designation of Florida Cracker Cattle as the state’s official heritage cattle breed to the reenactment of the designations of the Florida Cracker Horse and the Loggerhead Turtle.

The proposal became HB 155, and it was voted on during the 2018 legislative session. It passed with zero ‘No’ votes. Then, on March 21st, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 155 into law, designating Florida Cracker Cattle as the state’s official heritage cattle breed.

At AgAmerica, we’re proud to be a part of helping to ensure the success of Florida’s beef cattle industry. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable team member and explore all the ways our custom loan products can help your cattle operation succeed.