Florida has an extensive history of cattle ranching. Most of the middle peninsula stretching from south of Orlando to north of Lake Okeechobee has dairy and beef pastures. With over 1.1 million head of beef cattle, Florida is the third largest beef-producing state east of the Mississippi River and is ranked 10th in the nation.
The most famous products grown here include the oranges and other citrus fruit. Florida leads the southeast in farm income. Florida produces about 67% of the U.S. oranges and accounts for about 40% of the world’s orange juice supply. The groves spread from below the frost line which cuts through Orlando and all the way to the Everglades. Around the Everglades, the main crop is sugarcane although the methods applied to grow, harvest and process sugar have won the ire of the environmentalists. The state government has now offered to buy out the U.S. Sugar conglomerate in hopes of rescuing the Glades.
The main industry of Florida is tourism. In fact, the industry is estimated to contribute more than $60 billion a year to the economy. The state welcomes about 90 million visitors a year. Florida is one of the top travel destinations in the world. Tourism in Florida picked up after World War II. At first, the main attractions were the miles of white sandy beaches and the Everglades with its animals such as alligators, panthers and birds. The Florida Keys, with its coral reefs and sport fishing, and the forests of the national parks also attracted many nature lovers. In 1971, Florida became home to Walt Disney World Resort, one of the largest resorts in the world. Within the first year, the theme park contributed $14 billion dollars to Orlando’s economy. In fact, Orlando is now the most popular tourist destination in Florida. On the west coast, Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo are very popular while Tampa Bay hosts two Super Bowl Games. With the popularity of boat cruises increasing, Florida waters have also become a major location for people taking cruises in the Caribbean.
Aviation and space industry
Florida enjoys a leading position among states for aviation, aerospace, and space establishments. The state has more than 2,000 aviation and aerospace companies that employ some 87,000 workers. Florida’s industry leadership is supported by a 50 year legacy of space launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, its incredible air transport infrastructure, the state’s many U.S. military installations, its high quality workforce, and the presence of virtually every major defense contractor.
The marine industry of Florida contributes significantly more in terms of economic output to Florida’s economy than both Florida’s citrus and cruise ship industries combined. The industry includes sectors such as boat manufacturing, boat equipment manufacturing, marinas and boatyards, marine trade and marine services.
Florida is a hub for the life sciences and is home to some of the nation’s most highly regarded research centers, nearly 1,000 biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies; and a foundation of more than 44,000 healthcare establishments including more than 700 hospitals. There are several renowned research institutes, and cutting-edge, commercially relevant research and development centres.