What You Don’t See At Disney

I saw this cartoon the other day and it made me laugh.

Florida Cartoon Map

© 2012 FunGraphix

As a Florida snow bird, it’s fun to see the state from an outsider’s viewpoint.

Look at central Florida on the map. Theme parks fill the whole thing!

But there’s more to central Florida than Disney World.

Grassy Pasture

I know. It looks like a whole lot of nothing. But all that space has a purpose: Cattle!

Did you know Florida has the longest history of ranching of any state in the U.S.?

Cattle on Beach

Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/155054

The cattle industry has contributed significantly to Florida’s economy and natural resources for the past FIVE CENTURIES.

Drive across Central Florida and you’ll see that that cattle ranching tradition is alive and well today. Jess Kimball in Fatal Distraction describes the scene well:

The land between Ocala and Tampa was some of the emptiest space in Central Florida. There were no street lights along the Interstate, few homes and fewer lighted buildings. As in any rural area after dark, the brightest light was the moon.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture…
-Florida is home to FOUR of the ten largest cow-calf operations in the United States.
-There’s one Florida ranch alone that owns the largest brood cow herd in the U.S.
-Florida dairy producers own more than $236 million worth of cows, heifers, and bulls.

There’s even one breed of cattle that’s native to the state of Florida! It’s called the Florida Cracker Cattle. The breed descended from Spanish cattle brought to the New World in the early 1500s.

According to the Livestock Conservancy, the Florida Cracker Cattle adapted by becoming smaller to help them survive the Florida heat. At around 700 pounds, they’re smaller than the average cow. Florida Cracker Cattle are also highly resistant to parasites, they have a long life span, and they’re said to be more docile than other cattle.

I wonder if Jess Kimball knew all of that!
You learn something new every day, right?

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

Diane Capri

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6 Responses to What You Don’t See At Disney

  1. Jo Ann Black May 29, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Very interesting info. Thanks

    • Diane May 30, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      You’re VERY welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oz the Terrier May 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    When we went on our last camping trip over to Myakka River State Park, we drove the Beeline Highway (and attaching roads) across the state over to Sarasota. We were shocked at all the cattle ranches out there…beef cattle! The ranches are HUGE…there’s so much space out there. It was really cool to see…though we could never live out there with all those lovebugs getting smooshed onto the front of the car!
    Happy Thursday.

    • Diane May 30, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      The love bugs really are a nuisance, but you get to see an entirely different side of Florida, right? Thanks for sharing your experience and a
      Happy Friday to you!

  3. GladysMP May 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Florida has lots to offer. I enjoyed the Orchid Jungle. Is it still there?

    • Diane June 1, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Hi, Gladys. I’m sad to say Orchid Jungle is no longer open to the public. It was damaged in hurricanes, and too many exotic plants started to invade. Last I heard, Miami Dade County Park and Recreation was working to restore it, so that’s a good sign! I’m not sure where that project stands though.

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