The Sun Belt Ag Expo is fast approaching, and AgAmerica Lending is pleased to sponsor a bit of our own agriculture roots with a team of local whip crackers. We’re based out of Lakeland in the heart of Central Florida, where whip cracking is to Florida agriculture what the rodeo is to the West.

Cattle came to Florida with explorers like Ponce de Leon and adapted to the scrub lands of the Florida wilderness. Starting in the late 1800s, wild cattle became owned cattle, and men on horseback with whips were the chief individuals responsible for rounding up wild cattle and moving domestic cattle herds across the state. These cowboys came to be known as “Florida Crackers” for the sound their whips made. Whip cracking was a valuable skill that turned into an art form like other abilities one might need on a working farm or ranch. The name “Florida Cracker” became synonymous with anything to do with traditional agriculture in Florida, including generations of families.

Today, whip cracking, also called whip popping, is found in contest form at rodeos, country fairs and the like. Whip crackers use one or two whips to perform a routine of rhythmic whip cracking, and AgAmerica will be bringing some of Central Florida’s best young talent to the Sun Belt Ag Expo stage. Gracing the stage every day at 9:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. will be brothers Ryan, Grayson and Josiah Waldman and Cameron Cato. Cameron Cato is an authentic “Florida Cracker,” with great grandparents who lived the title and an uncle who started him whip cracking at the age of seven. The Waldman boys also have whip cracking in their roots, with the skill passed from a great grandfather to a cousin, and then to the boys themselves. Each young man has displayed his skills with whips at competitions, fairs and demonstrations across the Sunshine State. This October, they will do the same at the Sun Belt Ag Expo.

AgAmerica is proud to be a part of this country’s agriculture industry as land loan specialists, and we care about ag operators and their financial well-being. We help agribusinesses cultivate their operations with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and an outstanding 10-year line of credit.