Cattle producers in the state of Florida see an opportunity to enhance state pride in the beef industry and grow sales by connecting with the “Fresh From Florida” marketing campaign.
Joining the campaign with a seal that already appears on product labels for alligator, tomatoes and oranges may be a challenge as state officials determine what “Florida beef” means. Although the Florida Beef Council says the state’s cattle industry is one of the 15 largest in the United States, most of the cattle are sent west for finishing.
According to 2011 data, Florida’s home to almost one million head of cattle, but most are finished and processed in other states including Texas and Oklahoma. The Associated Press reports there’s only one large slaughterhouse in the state with facilities to handle 150 head per week and only a handful of feedlots.
Consumer interest in sustainable, local products is driving interest in adding beef to the Fresh From Florida label. The option would motivate producers to seek finishing and processing options within the state and develop a sense of state pride in the beef industry from producers to retail markets.
"Let's face it. If went into the supermarket and you saw `Fresh from Mexico,' `Fresh from Arizona' and `Fresh from Florida,' and you're in Florida, which one would you buy?" said Florida rancher Tom Harper.