The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Focusing IFAS Resources on Solutions for Tomorrow
This collection of papers provides the base information to help the University of Florida's Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences(UF/IFAS) keep Florida FIRST.
Florida FIRST represents Focusing IFAS Resources on Solutions for Tomorrow. Florida FIRST
is a strategic planning effort to enhance the UF/IFAS mandate for serving Florida's food,
agricultural, natural and human resources.
Florida FIRST will set a broad course and direction for UF/IFAS and is a template for developing
program imperatives for the new millennium. Florida FIRST will identify
opportunities for UF/IFAS to help Florida expand domestic and international business,
enhance natural resources, provide consumers with a wide variety of safe and affordable food,
support community development, maintain a sustainable food and fiber system, and improve the
quality of life.
We believe the information contained in these papers will be crucial to developing programs to
keep Florida FIRST in the next century.
Michael V. Martin
Vice President for Agriculture and
Table of Contents
Human and Community Resources
1. Youth and Family................................................................................................................................................... 1
2. Labor............................................................................................................................... ...................... ...... .. 17
3.Com m unities......................................................................................................................................................... 31
Domestic and International Business Clim ate/Dem graphics ................................................. ....................... 43
1. W after Resources (Quality and Quantity) ....................................................................................................... 57
2. Land Resources ................................................................................................................................................... 69
3. Air Quality and Clim ate ....................................................................................................................................... 81
4. Natural System s ................................................................................................................................................... 91
Forestry .................................................................................................................................................................. 103
Aquaculture ............................................................................................................................................................ 115
W wildlife .................................................................................................................................................................. 125
Fisheries and Coastal Resources ..................................................................................................................... 135
Agricultural Input Industries ........................................................................................................................... 145
Consum ers ............................................................................................................................................................. 157
Food Processing and Distribution ................................................................................................................... 169
1. Beef Cattle ......................................................................................................................................................... 181
2. Dairy Cattle ....................................................................................................................................................... 193
3. Poultry ............................................................................................................................................................... 203
4. Horses ................................................................................................................................................................ 213
5. Other Livestock Industries .......................................................................................................................... 225
Sugarcane .............................................................................................................................................................. 239
Turfgrass ................................................................................................................................................................ 251
Forage Crops ......................................................................................................................................................... 261
Field Crops ............................................................................................................................................................ 273
Citrus ..................................................................................................................................................................... 283
Other Fruit Crops ................................................................................................................................................... 295
Vegetable Crops ..................................................................................................................................................... 305
Environm mental Horticulture ................................................................................................................................... 315
Program s in the College of Agriculture at the University of Florida .................................................................. 327
FLORIDA'S CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES:
CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Prepared for the IFAS Strategic Planning Process, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, March
Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences
2 Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Hillsborough County
In the past few decades, family life has changed so dramatically that the very notion of the
"family" has been called into question. As a result of the divorce revolution, family arrangements have
become complicated. Families now include single-parent families; step families of a biological parent
and step parent; step and half siblings; and extended families from before and after the divorce. Another
significant change has been the dramatic increase in mother's labor force participation, particularly
among mothers of school age and younger children. Additionally, fertility has declined and family size
has decreased (U.S. Census Bureau, 1998).
Due to these and other changes, there is widespread concern about the well-being and importance
of families in today's society. Some observers argue that marriage is no longer as highly valued as in the
past, resulting in the breakdown of the family. Furthermore, some question the success of contemporary
families in socializing, educating, and caring for their young, as parents are often burdened with
problems that can harm children and youth (Pipher, 1997; Shehan & Kammeyer, 1997). Some suggest
that these changes in the family and the social world of children and youth have created a "socially toxic"
environment for vulnerable children and youth and a riskier environment for all young people than was
true 40 years ago (Garbarino, 1995).
Other scholars argue that families are in this state of transformation to meet the demands of a
changing society. In this light, family changes can be viewed as signs of strength and resiliency, of the
family's ability to continue to serve as a primary social institution (Shehan & Kammeyer, 1997; Smith,
1995). Furthermore, when problems or weaknesses are observed, these are frequently due to the lack of
institutional support for families, children, and youth. Problems can be attributed to the external social
and economic conditions families experience--such as unsafe and unpatrolled neighborhoods, poorly
equipped schools, inadequate or inaccessible health care, and low wage employment rather than to some
intrinsic family dysfunction (Pipher, 1997).
This paper reviews the demographic and social trends pertaining to families, children, and youth,
focusing on trends in the following areas of family life. Each section describes the changes, draws out
issues for families, children, and youth, and points out concerns for the future.
* Marriage and divorce
* Working families
* Parenting, including Single Parents, Stepparents, and Teen Parents
* Child Care
* Elder Care
* Out-of-School Time for Children
* Youth at Risk
* Child Abuse and Neglect
The last section focuses first on the major causes of these trends: industrialization and
urbanization, smaller family size and increased life expectancy. The paper concludes by discussing how
recent social and economic changes, particularly the technological revolution, have fragmented the social
ecology of youth, families and communities.
In the past few decades, family life has changed so dramatically that the very notion of the
"family" has been called into question. As a result of the divorce revolution, family arrangements
have become complicated. Families now include single-parent families; step families of a biological
parent and step parent; step and half siblings; and extended families from before and after the
divorce. Another significant change in family life has been the dramatic increase in mother's labor
force participation, particularly among mothers of school age and younger children. Additionally,
family size has decreased due to 20 years of fertility declines (U.S. Census Bureau, 1998).
Due to these and other changes, there is widespread concern about the well-being and overall
importance of families in today's society. Some observers of the higher rates of divorce,
cohabitation, and nonmarital childbearing argue that marriage is no longer as highly valued as in the
past, resulting in the breakdown of the family. Furthermore, some question the success of
contemporary families in socializing, educating, and caring for their young, as parents are often
burdened with problems that can harm children and youth (Pipher, 1997; Shehan & Kammeyer,
Some suggest that these changes in the family and the social world of children and youth
have created a "socially toxic" environment for vulnerable children and youth, and a riskier
environment for all young people than was true 40 years ago (Garbarino, 1995). Increasingly,
children and youth are falling into the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as well as other
problematic settings (National Research Council, 1993) and experiencing demoralizing violence,
poverty, disrupted relationships, and alienation.
Other scholars argue that families are in this state of transformation to meet the demands of
a changing society. They point out that comparing today's families to those of the past romanticizes
the latter, and overlooks the fact that families of the 1950s and 60s also had problems and
disadvantages, such as internal inequities that were detrimental to women and children. In this light,
family changes can be viewed as signs of strength and resiliency, of the family's ability to continue
to serve as a primary social institution (Shehan and Kammeyer, 1997; Smith, 1995).
Furthermore, when problems or weaknesses are observed, these are frequently due to the lack
of institutional support for families, children, and youth. Problems can be attributed to the external
social and economic conditions families experience--such as unsafe and unpatrolled neighborhoods,
poorly equipped schools, inadequate or inaccessible health care, and low wage employment-rather
than in some intrinsic family dysfunction (Pipher, 1997). The following section on Family Trends
summarizes the key demographic and social trends in family formation, dissolution, and
development, followed by Child and Youth Trends.
Marriage and Divorce
One of the most important changes in family life has been the increase in the median age at
first marriage. In 1994, the median age was the highest in history, 27 for men and 25 for women.
One of the reasons for this trend is more permissive sexual attitudes, which have made it possible
for men and women to have a sexually intimate relationship outside of marriage (Rice, 1999).
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of unmarried cohabiting couples,
suggesting that this may have become an accepted precursor or alternative to marriage (U.S. Census
Bureau, 1998). An estimated half of young people today will live with an intimate partner by the
time they are in their thirties (Bumpass & Sweet, 1989). Nevertheless, marriage continues to be
important. Most people (90%) do marry, although marriages are less likely to be first and only
marriages (Coleman & Ganong, 1993).
Between the mid 1960s and late 1970s, the divorce rate doubled. Since 1979, divorce rates
declined slightly and leveled off, but are still at a relatively high level. While some project that
between 50% and 60% of new marriages will end in divorce (Rice, 1999), others suggest that about
40% of marriages started in the 1980s will end (Shehan & Kammeyer, 1997). Florida's divorce rate
is one of the highest in the country, ranking in the top 10 of all states (Shehan & Kammeyer, 1997).
However, most divorced people eventually remarry. Two thirds of women and three-fourths of men
marry again, usually within 5 years of divorce. Historically, around half of these second marriages
ended in divorce, although there are some signs that redivorce is declining (Coleman & Ganong,
1993; Rice, 1999).
Divorce rates vary by social and demographic characteristics. Younger age, bearing children
before marriage, and lack of religious involvement are particularly important. Conversely, marital
quality, which refers to how happy, satisfactory, or stable a marriage is, can be predicted by religious
observance, later age at marriage, greater educational attainment, greater economic resources, higher
occupational status, good health, and a positive parental marriage.
There are numerous personal reasons for divorce, including communication problems, basic
unhappiness, sexual problems, financial difficulties, lack of sense of family and family time at home,
alcohol abuse, infidelity, and emotional or physical abuse. Research with distressed couples and
with therapists overwhelmingly shows that communication problems are prevalent in distressed
marriages and are most damaging to marital relationships. Positive, mutually supportive
communication plays a vital role in well-functioning, happy marriages. Commitment, honesty and
fidelity, spirituality, and crisis-management skills are also important (Gottman, 1994; Rice, 1999).
Divorce is complex and multifaceted. It includes legal issues, intense emotions and distress,
financial decisions, changing relationships with family and friends, a redefinition of personal
identity, and decisions regarding child custody and visitation rights (Bohannan, 1971). Florida's
child custody laws give most parents shared and equal responsibilities in making decisions about the
child's welfare, including medical, educational, and religious matters. Child support and visitation
rights are other issues. Recently, Florida has instituted tougher procedures for obtaining child
support payments from noncustodial parents (Florida Department of Revenue).
Although children of divorce do have some problems initially, compared with children whose
parents are not divorced, after a period of mourning and grief most children resume normal
development (Rice, 1999). Furthermore, many children whose parents remain married do have
problems (Shehan & Kammeyer, 1997). Children are most likely to have emotional problems when
their parents' relationship is conflict-ridden, whether in the marriage, during divorce, or after
divorce. Indeed, parental conflict per se reduces the well-being of children (Amato, Loomis, &
Booth, 1995) and can have just as negative an effect on children as a divorce (Shehan & Kammeyer,
1991). Consequently, parents, extended family members, educators, clergy, and community
residents need to be concerned not only about the impacts of divorce on children, but about the needs
of children and parents in high conflict homes. Mediation and divorce education may play a critical
role in alleviating problems.
Although men and women may now participate in the work force at almost equal rates,
women have not reduced their commitment to their families as mother, wife, homemaker, and elder
caregiver. They are not necessarily "stressed" because of these multiple responsibilities, and they
and their families may in fact benefit (Barnett, Marshall, Raudenbush, & Benjamin, 1993). On the
other hand, stay-at-home mothers may suffer from depression and other problems.
However, the type of paid work women do and workplace conditions affect their personal
well-being and the quality of family life. For both men and women, longer hours, irregular shifts,
and frequent travel have negative impacts on parent-child and marital relationships. Dual career
couples seem to be buffered from some stresses by financial resources that enable them to purchase
good child care, household services, and vacations. These assets are rarely available to lower income
families (Burris, 1991). Indeed, lower income families may be particularly vulnerable to work and
family stress. They often hold two jobs to make ends meet and have less time with their children;
They often work in low wage jobs without benefits; that offer little of the flexibility that would
enable them to successfully combine working and parenting (Hewlett & West, 1998). As former
welfare recipients enter the labor force under new WAGES (Florida welfare reform) policies, these
issues are likely to come to the forefront.
As the number of working mothers and dual earner families has increased, so has the interest
in workplace programs and policies to support working parents. For example, national legislation
now mandates parental leave for larger businesses. Generally, however, employers have been slow
to adopt policies that give parents greater flexibility in combining working and parenting roles.
Furthermore, existing government policies have been criticized as being unaffordable for most
working class families (Wiener, 1996). Employer support for working parents will continue to be
an issue in the next few decades.
The number of teenage parents, single parents, blended family units (step parents), and
grandparents raising grandchildren is on the rise. Family composition is one of numerous factors
that contribute to children's well-being.
Single Parents. The number of one-parent households has spiraled upward over the past 20
years due to increased rates of divorce and nonmarital childbearing. Between 1970 and 1997, the
number of one-parent families doubled (U.S. Census Bureau, 1998). Over the same period, the
proportion of children in two-parent families decreased from 85% to 68% (U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, [DHHS] 1998). In Florida, 30% of families with children are headed
by a single parent, ranking 47 in the nation (Florida Kids Count, 1997).
Most children under 18 who live in single parent households live with a divorced or never-
married parent (31% of children in each category), followed by married, spouse absent (18.4%),
separated (15.7%), and widowed parents (3%) (Rawlings, 1993). The percentage of single-parent
families is higher among African Americans (64%) and Hispanics (36%) than Whites (26%) (U.S.
Census Bureau, 1998).
Due to role overload and income inadequacy, single parents are at high risk for anxiety,
depression and other health problems (Olson & Banyard, 1991). Also, lack of essential resources
and support may lead to negative parenting behaviors (i.e., being uncommunicative, unsupportive
and punitive), which adversely affect children's personal adjustment, self concept, cognitive
functioning, social behaviors, and relationships (Hammer & Turner, 1996).
Stepparenting. One out of three Americans now live in a stepfamily, a marriage that
involves children from a previous marriage. National data indicate that 65% of remarriages create
stepfamilies. Of all children under 18, 72.5% live in two parent families, 20.8% are in stepfamilies.
Most children (65%) living with a stepparent live with a stepfather (Stepfamily Association of
The increased quantity and complexity of stepfamilies, and a lack of formal roles and
responsibilities for each stepfamily member intensify interpersonal and emotional adjustments.
Society provides few clear guidelines for stepfamily members who are experiencing the loss and
discontinuity of previous family household (Rice, 1999). In addition, couples are faced with the
tasks of solidifying and strengthening the marital relationship while dealing with child-related issues,
ex-spouses, and financial concerns. Often the children view the new stepparent as a competitor for
the affection and attention of their biological parent. Indeed, the most frequently reported source
of stress for stepparents is parent-child relationships. Healthy stepfamilies eventually learn to
overcome the ambiguity of their new roles by establishing new stepfamily rituals and resolving
conflicts through positive communication.
Teen Parenting. In 1997, the Florida teen birth rate was 58.2 live births per 1,000 females
ages 15-19 years. This was 25,152 live births to teen parents in 1997, higher than the national rate.
Although all teens are at some risk for early childbearing, not all teens are at equal risk. Risk
factors for early childbearing include poverty or low income; family history of teen pregnancy
(mothers or siblings were teen parents); peer influence; use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs; number of
changes in school; and high crime rate community. Protective factors include high parental
educational aspirations for the child; the teen's own high level of aspiration; positive parent-child
relations; and communities that offer good schools, opportunities for employment, and resources and
programs for children (Florida Vital Statistics Annual Report 1997).
The impacts of early childbearing for mothers include lower educational attainment, lower
annual earnings, more time in public housing, greater dependency on welfare, and more total number
of children. Fathers reach lower levels of education and earn less. The children of teen parents are
impacted by low birth weight, more acute and chronic illness, more difficulties in school, child
abuse, foster care placement, and their own teen pregnancy (Florida Vital Statistics Annual Report
Families, communities and schools that provide support and resources to young adolescents,
both male and female, contribute to lower pregnancy rates. General strategies that have an impact
in reducing teen pregnancies include strong, one-on-one support from a responsible adult, attention
to educational achievement, attention to the world of work, attention to the importance of parental
and peer influence and the involvement of the community (Florida Vital Statistics Annual Report
Grandparents. Since 1980, the number of children living with and being cared for by
grandparents has increased dramatically. By 1996, the number of children under 18 living in their
grandparents' homes had increased from 2.3 million (4%) to 4 million (6%). Grandparents are faced
with financial and legal issues, child care, health care, schooling, and emotional support for their
grandchildren and themselves (Fuller-Thompson, Minkler, & Driver, 1997).
One of the biggest issues facing working families is how to care for children while at work.
Over 63% of Florida mothers of children under the age of 6, and 77% of mothers of children 6-17,
are in the labor force (Florida Children's Forum, 1998). There are almost one million Florida
children under 5 years of age and an estimated 600,000, or 60% of these need child care (Children's
Defense Fund, 1998; Florida Children's Forum, 1998).
The ability to afford child care is a primary concern of most (54%) Florida parents studied.
For low income families, care becomes affordable with subsidies, but during much of 1997, priority
for subsidized care was extended to children at risk of abuse and neglect and to families making the
transition from welfare to work. In addition, 30% of Florida parents surveyed were chiefly
concerned about the availability of child care. Parents have difficulty finding care because the
number of vacancies in centers declined; parent requests for evening or weekend care still exceed
the number of such openings; and there is a growing demand for after school care for children ages
5-12 (Florida Children's Forum, 1998).
Six percent of Florida parents were primarily concerned about quality. This does not mean
that parents are satisfied with the quality of care available, but they are less worried about the quality
than about finding care that meets their family budget and matches their work hours. One problem
is high teacher turnover. According to national data, 98% of providers in facilities leave within three
years (Halifax, 1999). Nearly one-third of Florida providers report that their reason for leaving their
position is that they earn low wages and few benefits. Indeed, the vast majority (85%) of child care
providers bring home wages at the poverty level or lower. Another quality problem is the declining
compliance rate with standards, e.g., for the number of staff per student (Florida Children's Forum,
By the year 2010 there will be well over one million children under age 5, a 19% increase
since 1990. Over the same two decades, there will be an increase of 24% in children ages 5-9 and
more than 36% in those ages 10-14 and 15-19. Clearly the established demand for affordable child
care for all age groups that is provided by trained and professional care providers will continue.
In 1997, 18% Florida's residents were 65 and older compared to 13% for the U.S. In some
of Florida's counties more than one-third of residents are 65 or older. In the past 20 years, half of
the growth in Florida's population has been from people 55 and older. As these people age, a greater
percentage will be 80 and older. Over the 1990-2010 period, the population over 65 years of age will
increase by almost 43% compared to 38% for the state as a whole. Marked increases will take place
over this same period in the population over the age of 80 years. Between 1990 and 2010 there will
be a 71% increase in residents 80-84 and a 127% increase in those 85 and older(University of
As long as they can afford to, the elderly have chosen to live by themselves, independently
from their children. Most elderly Floridians (96%) live within the community. Over half live with
their spouses and over one quarter live alone. The rest live with family (18%), with others (4%), in
nursing home facilities (2.5%), or in assisted living facilities (1.6%) (Commission on Long Term
Care in Florida, 1995).
Currently, only a small proportion of elders, about 10% (281,000), have severe disabilities,
defined as difficulty performing three or more Activities of Daily Living. The oldest old, those 85
and older, as well as poor and female elders, are most likely to have severe disabilities. Between
1995 and 2010 the number of elders with severe disabilities will increase by 42% (Commission for
Long Term Care).
Certain groups, such as women, rural residents, low income, and minority elderly, are
particularly vulnerable to physical, financial, or emotional problems. Isolation, lack of information,
or inaccessible services prevent them from maintaining their health or homes. However, an
extensive network of family, neighbors, and friends, as well as a modest level of state support for
community-based care, allow even the most severely disabled to be cared for at home. Thus, family
caregivers are an extremely important resource.
However, attending to the elderly can be very demanding, and stress and physical illness can
result. Furthermore, Hispanic caregivers tend to be in poorer physical and psychological health than
White or Black caregivers, a finding that is of particular interest in light of Florida's growing
Hispanic population. Florida's growing population of minority elders and their caregivers have
needs that are frequently unaddressed by social services and medical care due to language and
cultural barriers (Perspectives in Health and Aging, 1998).
Providing care for the elderly will be one of the most important issues Florida faces in the
next decade. The state's major fiscal commitment to long term care has been nursing home care;
thousands of elders will continue to need such care. More elders with severe disabilities who live
in the community will also need publicly supported care. Currently, community-based services and
publicly-funded, low tech residential settings are insufficient for the large aging population requiring
a range of care options (Commission for Long Term Care).
Child and Youth Trends
In 1994, children under 18 comprised 22.6% of Florida's population. Due to the recent surge
in numbers of the state's children, middle schools are experiencing overcrowding; teenagers will
become the largest group within the child population by the year 2010 (Florida Kids Count, 1996).
Generally, "youth" refers to individuals in their teenage years between the ages of 12 and 20. The
the number of youth ages 13-17 is expected to increase 19% between 1996 and 2005. Although the
number of youth is increasing, they are still becoming a smaller percentage of Florida overall
population because the percentage of senior citizens is increasing at a faster rate. Therefore, youth
will continue to comprise a smaller percentage of Florida's population. In the future these youth,
as Florida's labor force, will have to support a growing elderly population (Florida Kids Count,
Although the focus here is on major issues and problems affecting children and youth, most
children develop well and grow up healthy. Additionally, over the past decade Florida has achieved
reductions in both child death rates and teen violent death rates (Florida Kids Count, 1996).
Out-of-School Time for Children
Where children spend their time, what they do, and with whom they do it are all important
to children's overall development. Many children are not involved in the kinds of activities that
promote healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. For example, lack of
physical activity has become a serious problem and more U.S. children are overweight or obese than
ever before. Moreover, 18% of nine year olds watch televisionsix or more hours a day (U.S. [US
DHSS], 1998), and if they are low income, rarely participate in after school activities (Miller,
O'Connor, Sirignano, & Joshi, 1996).
An estimated 5 million children in the U.S. spend time without adult supervision during a
typical week (Miller, 1995). Lack of adult supervision may place children at greater risk for truancy,
stress, poor grades, risk-taking, and substance abuse (Wellesley College, 1998). For example, the
rate of violent juvenile crime triples between 3 p.m. to 8 p.m, hours when youth are least likely to
be supervised (Fox & Newman, 1998).
Children need opportunities for meaningful activities to structure their use of time and to
develop new interests, to engage with peers and adults and to contribute meaningfully to the
community. Positive outcomes have been found when children participate in high quality after-
school programs. Children who attend these programs have demonstrated improved academic
achievement, improved social skills, and reduced problem behaviors (Riley, Steinberg, Todd, Junge,
& McClain, 1994; Witt, 1997). This participation may be particularly important for low-income
Youth at Risk
Given that today's youth represent Florida's future work force, it is crucial that young people
engage in school and technical learning and steer away from risk behaviors (i.e., alcohol, drugs,
violence, and early unprotected sex). However, risk behaviors are widespread and increasing among
U.S. youth, according to several national studies. Dryfoos (1990) concluded that half of all 10-to-17
year olds are at high or moderate risk of undermining their chances for a healthy life because of
substance use; unsafe sex or teenage pregnancy; and school failure and delinquency, crime, or
Recently, the Center for Disease Control (Kann et al., 1998) conducted a national study of
young people's involvement in risky behaviors, including a large random sample of Florida youth.
This study found higher levels of risk-taking behaviors among Florida youth than in the national
sample. For example, youth in Florida were more likely to report feeling unsafe and to carry a
weapon to school than youth in United States generally. In addition, there were 264,897 serious
incidents related to school safety reported in Florida public schools for the 1995-96 school year. Of
these, 4,492 incidents involved weapon possession (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 1998).
These findings are consistent with other data reporting that Florida has approximately 300 more
juvenile violent crimes than the United States in general (U.S. DHSS, 1998). This may be a real
increase or it may be due to a recent "get-tough" policy in Florida's Juvenile Justice System.
The CDC study also found that 33% of Florida youth surveyed report having four or more
sexual partners, compared to 16% of the national sample of youth. The high occurrence of sexual
partners provides some explanation as to why Florida has one of the highest rates of teenage
pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among youth in the country.
The increasing engagement of youth in risk behaviors has been linked to social changes that
have implications for individual development. Several scholars have noted that youth have no
prepared, approved, or appreciated place in society. They must tackle two major tasks, usually on
their own, identity formation and the development of self-worth and self-efficacy (Nightingale &
Wolverton, 1993; Dryfoos, 1998). For these reasons, youth today are said to be suffering from
"rolelessness," where they do not have contributing, active, productive roles that are consistent with
and valued by adult society.
In addition, adults appear to be less involved in youth's lives on a daily basis, for several
reasons. Foremost is age segregation, in which adults and children, even those living in the same
families, go their separate ways and tend to be involved in activities or settings that exclude the other
group (Pipher, 1996). In addition, there is evidence that people are generally less involved in
community life (Putnam, 1996), and, consequently, may be disengaged from the lives of children
The disengagement of adults from youth is linked to the current American proclivity to
identify, count, and report problems (for example, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, youth violence)
(Benson, 1997). This repeated experience overwhelms and inadvertently communicates that the
problems are too big, too vast for an average citizen to make any difference. The legacy of
indifference that is being passed on to teenagers can be summed up by the findings from a 1996
national survey of high school seniors. When asked about the importance of social life goals, only
24% indicated that making a contribution to society was extremely important, and even less (15%)
placed importance on being a leader in their community (U.S. DHSS, 1998).
Youth rolelessness of youth and adult disengagement are exacerbated by the trend in
American culture to overstate the importance of individual gain at the expense of community
(Benson, 1997; Putnam, 1996). Growing social mistrust fuels the privatization of personal and
family life, with citizens disengaging from each other, from civic affairs, and from shared
responsibility for the healthy nurturing of the youngest generation.
Child Abuse and Neglect
The number of children reported as abused or neglected has increased greatly in the past
decade. In Florida in 1995, there were 70,228 child victims (age 17 and under) of substantiated
abuse or neglect. Florida ranks 35t in the U.S. for the proportion of abused and neglected children
(Petit & Curtis, 1997), indicating that the state scores near the highest third of all states on child
abuse and neglect. Parents were the most likely to abuse or neglect children, comprising 76% of
known offenders. Parental neglect and abuse directly propel children into the child welfare system.
There has been a steady growth in the numbers of U.S. children placed in out-of-home care--from
280,000 in 1986 to 486,000 in 1995 (Petit & Curtis, 1997). In 1995, there were 21,362 Florida
children in out-of-home care.
Neglect and abuse do not occur in a vacuum. Several interrelated conditions are
overwhelmingly present in substantiated cases. These include poverty, often accompanied by too
early parenthood; lack of child care and supervision for children; lack of support for parents; abuse
of alcohol and other drugs; and family history of violence. None of these conditions unequivocally
predict that children will be maltreated. Some affluent parents, for example, abuse and neglect their
children (Gelles, 1998).
Child maltreatment is often part of a sad cycle that poverty may set in motion. As children
grow older, that cycle may also include dropping out of school, teen parenthood, unemployment or
underemployment, homelessness or inadequate housing, hunger, poor health, poor mental health,
and the development of chemical dependency problems (Sherman, 1994).
There is some reason to be concerned about Florida's indicators of school achievement.
Although the available data are somewhat inconsistent, there is evidence that Florida's drop out rates
are higher than for most other states (Florida Kids Count, 1997, p. 53). Research shows that this can
have devastating consequences for the individual and for society as drop outs have lower lifelong
earning potential, are more likely to become welfare recipients, and are less likely to engage their
own children in experiences that promote a successful education. It is important to note that poverty
is associated with higher drop out rates and other educational outcomes such as lower test scores,
learning disabilities, falling behind in grade level school, and lower levels of postsecondary
education (Sherman, 1994).
Parents' involvement in their children's education is crucial to their success. Teachers report
that one in three kindergartners arrives in school unprepared to learn (Florida Kids Count, 1996).
Parent involvement with schools tends to decline as children grow older. The amount of parent
involvement is also associated with income level and education. Children living in nonpoor
households and those whose mothers had higher educational levels were much more likely to have
highly involved parents than poor children and those with whose mothers had lower education levels
(U.S. DHSS, 1998).
FORCES OF CHANGE
The transformations in families and youth are rooted in economic, cultural, and demographic
changes that began with industrialization and urbanization in the mid-to-late 1800s. Under the
previous system of agricultural production, the family functioned as an economic unit, producing
most goods as a cooperative group. People married and had children principally for economic
reasons, such as for labor and assistance in old age. The shift to an industrial economy, based on the
manufacture and consumption of goods and services, permanently and radically altered family life.
Urbanization drew people to urban centers for greater educational and employment opportunities,
thereby fragmenting extended families and changing rural and small town communities (Hernandez,
One of the most profound changes was the development of a gender-based division of labor
whereby men moved into firms and factories as the family's principal breadwinner, and women
assumed primary responsibility for the care of the home and family. Later, as educational and
employment opportunities for women increased, and as it became increasingly difficult for families
to meet their expenses on one salary, more and more women went to work outside the home. In
addition, social and political movements throughout this century have given women greater freedom
and control in the public and private realms of their lives. Although the changes in men's roles have
been slower and less dramatic, increasingly there is a greater acceptance of various combinations of
work and family roles for both men and women, as evidenced in a surge of research on the role of
fathers in children's development and family life (e.g., Marsiglio, 1995).
Two demographic changes have also been particularly important in shaping today's families.
One is the gradual reduction in family size associated with the shift from an agricultural to industrial
economy. As the actual and opportunity costs of having many children increased, couples reduced
their total fertility (Hernandez, 1993). Second is the increase in life expectancy, which has created
new and difficult questions for families and for society about how best to provide long term care for
In the last part of the 20t century, social and economic changes have again had a tremendous
impact on children and families. The electronic revolution has changed the world dramatically,
speeding up the pace of life and eroding the sense of community. At the same time, plummeting
wages, lengthening work weeks, joblessness and rising job insecurity means that most Americans
are working longer hours for less pay (Hewlett and West, 1998). Families are stressed and may not
spend any regular, meaningful time together as a group; children increasingly are home alone
(Hewlett and West, 1998; Pipher, 1996). Communities, once a source of support, companionship,
and mutual protection, are eroding (Pipher, 1996). The increasing engagement of youth in risk
behaviors has been linked to these shifts in community cohesion as well as to lack of parental
supervision (Hewlett and West, 1998; Pipher, 1996).
This paper highlighted the transformation of American culture in its interface with children,
youth and families in Florida. These transformations are not yet well understood and may be headed
in a direction that many people do not want. Noteworthy solutions must be wide-ranging, persistent
and appealing to many diverse interests (Bronfenbrenner et.al, 1996). There are no quick fixes. Yet,
the stakes for children, youth and families are high; something must be done.
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FLORIDA LABOR MARKETS
Robert D. Emerson1
Suzanna Smith,2 Chair
David Mulkey,1 Co-Chair
Prepared for the IFAS Strategic Planning Process, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
SDepartment of Food and Resource Economics
2Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences
3 Department of Agricultural Education and Communication
4 Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service
5 Nassau County Cooperative Extension Service
FLORIDA LABOR MARKETS
Labor markets in the US economy have become highly integrated between the farm and
nonfarm sectors of the economy; Florida is no exception. The high sectoral integration helps to
ensure that labor is efficiently allocated in the economy, and that individuals have the
opportunity to earn their maximum potential incomes. This integration places a premium on
adaptability so workers can shift employment as opportunities in the labor market present
themselves. The phenomenal growth in Florida labor markets has presented abundant
opportunities to individuals to shift employment as new opportunities arise. However, the
potential adaptability for much of the hired farm work force is a serious concern, given the
relatively low education levels of many of the workers, and given limited English language
facility by a large segment of the work force.
Most important among the recent trends in the national and Florida economy has been the
strong economy, and accordingly vibrant labor market. The farm labor market is an extremely
small component of the Florida labor market, and farm employers must compete for labor with
nonfarm employers. Hired farm employment in Florida has shown a modest decline in recent
years, and has apparently experienced reduced seasonal variations to some extent. Wage rates
paid to Florida farm workers, while substantially less than earned by production workers in the
overall economy, are nevertheless uniformly higher than for US farm workers. When wage rates
are adjusted for inflation, the Florida hired farm wage rate is essentially constant over the period
since 1974. Florida hired farm workers are largely from minority groups, and are predominantly
of Hispanic origin. In addition, they are, on average, relatively young, poor, living alone
(although half are married), and have very limited formal education and English language
A number of external influences can alter the future state of the Florida labor market, and
specifically, the Florida farm labor market. First and foremost is the strength of the Florida and
US economies. A slowing of growth, or movement into a recession period, typically reduces the
employment opportunities and earning potential in the agricultural sector as well as the overall
economy. Significant changes in immigration policy and enforcement could have major impacts
on Florida labor markets, and particularly, the farm labor market. Continuing globalization
means that increasingly, changes in the US economy including the labor market are driven by
forces external to the US. Both entrepreneurs and employees must be adaptable to benefit from
global changes. The pace of new technology developments, in part driven by global changes, is
both a result of, and a determinant of, changes in the farm labor market. The availability of
housing and public services continues to be a concern, particularly for migratory farm workers.
FLORIDA LABOR MARKETS
The US economy and the Florida economy are currently highly robust. One of the
measures of robustness, and concerns about the potential duration of the strong economy, is the
nature of the labor market. As the labor market becomes too tight, the Federal Reserve Board
and other policy-makers become concerned that inflation will be reignited. The rate of
unemployment in Florida was 4.2 percent in January 1999, the lowest in the last 26 years.
Moreover, this compares favorably with the national unemployment rate of 4.3 percent for the
same time period (Florida (b), 1999). The average annual rates of unemployment for 1998 for
Florida and the US were 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively (Florida (d), 1999). Average
Florida employment for 1998 was 6,918,000, an increase of 137,000 persons over 1997 (Florida
(d), 1999). The labor force participation rate for Florida in 1996 was 62 percent, compared to 67
percent for the US (Bureau, 1998, p. 218). Although the unemployment rates are historically
low, employment continues to increase through new entrants to the labor force, both by age, and
by increased participation from the existing civilian population.
Employment on Florida farms accounts for a relatively small portion of the Florida labor
force. Including self-employed, family, and hired workers in agriculture, average employment
on Florida farms was 91,300 in 1998 (USDA, 1998). By contrast, the service sector of Florida
accounts for over two million jobs, or 35 percent of nonfarm employment (Bureau, 1998, p.
202). Much hired farm employment in Florida requires unskilled labor. As a result, agriculture
must compete with a variety of other sectors of the economy that also employ unskilled labor,
such as construction, hotels and restaurants. The wages paid by farm employers are increasingly
driven by alternative employment opportunities available to farm workers in other sectors of the
Globalization of the economy continues to influence agriculture, and thereby labor
employed in agriculture. As producers are affected by global forces such as the marked Mexican
peso devaluation in December 1994, their labor requirements are directly affected. A second
aspect of globalization is the flow of labor and capital across national borders. Capital flows far
more freely than labor, and can result in production areas shifting to other areas of the world.
However, our informal immigration policy has also allowed labor to flow into the US, and
allegedly into agriculture. The latter situation has resulted in a shift in the demographic
composition of the agricultural work force to become predominantly of Hispanic origin. Those
workers who have managed to arrive in the US and produce the necessary documents which
appear to be legal for employment are continually in an uncertain situation, fearing detection and
deportation. Employers also face the uncertainty of penalties if workers are found to be illegal.
More importantly, they face the uncertainty of abrupt changes in the informal immigration policy
and enforcement which could dramatically reduce the supply of labor to agriculture.
The Labor Force
The estimated Florida civilian labor force for 1998 was 7,228,000 (Florida (c), 1999). Of
these, 6,918,000 were employed, and the corresponding unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.
Over the past 20 year period, the annual rate of growth of the Florida civilian labor force has
been approximately 3.0 percent. By contrast, the US civilian labor force expanded at an annual
rate of only 1.5 percent over the same time period (calculated from US, BLS (a), 1999). This, of
course, parallels the high rate of growth of population in Florida relative to other states in the
US. Nevertheless, the Florida labor market has undergone impressive growth over the past 20
years, with an 83 percent cumulative increase in the civilian labor force.
An important dimension of the labor force is the labor force participation rate, the
proportion of the population 16 years of age and over who are employed or actively seeking
employment. The labor force participation rate in Florida was 62 percent for 1998, having
steadily increased from 57 percent in 1978 (Florida (c), 1999). By contrast the US labor force
participation rate increased from 63 percent in 1978 to 67 percent in 1998 (US BLS (a), 1999).
The relatively high proportion of retirees in Florida undoubtedly contributes to the lower labor
force participation rate compared with the rest of the nation. In 1997, 18 percent of the Florida
population was 65 years of age or over (Bureau, 1998, p. 19), while only 13 percent of the US
population was in the same age category (US Bureau of Census, 1998, p. 15).
Thirteen percent of the Florida population 16 years and over in 1996 was Black; 15% was
categorized as persons of Hispanic origin compared with 12% and 10%, respectively, for the US
(Bureau, 1998, p 218). The gender composition of the Florida civilian population is virtually the
same as for the US: 47% male in Florida versus 48% male for the US. Experience in the labor
market, however, varies by demographic group. The labor force participation rate is higher for
men than women, 70 compared to 55 percent for the Florida civilian population 16 years and
older (Table 1). The same contrast between men and women carries across the different racial
and ethnic categories. The labor force participation rates for the Black and Hispanic groups
(68% and 66%, respectively) are higher than for the White group (61%). By contrast, young
adults (age 16-19 years) in the Black and Hispanic groups have considerably lower participation
rates (39% and 40%) than the White group (54%). The disparity between labor force
participation rates in Florida and the US is largely due to the White group; the participation rate
for Blacks in Florida not only exceeds the rate for the other two Florida groups, but it also
exceeds the national participation rate for Blacks.
Unemployment rates in Florida also reveal important differences across demographic
groups. As shown in Table 1, the unemployment rate in 1996 for Blacks was over twice the
unemployment rate for Whites (9.7% versus 4.3%). The rate for the Hispanic group was also
higher, 7.5% versus 4.3%. Women had higher unemployment rates than men except in the case
of Black women. Again, the young adult group (age 16-19 years) is a serious concern with an
unemployment rate over three times higher than for all labor force participants (16% versus
5.1%). Furthermore, the young adult unemployment rate is substantially higher for Blacks and
Hispanics than for Whites. Nevertheless, the pattern of unemployment rates across the groups is
very similar for Florida and the US.
Table 1. Labor force participation and unemployment rates, Florida and the U.S., 1996a
Popu n Labor force participation rate Unemployment rate
Florida U.S. Florida U.S.
All 62 67 5.1 5.4
Men 70 75 4.8 5.4
Women 55 59 5.4 5.4
Age 16-19 50 52 16.0 16.7
White 61 67 4.3 4.7
Men 69 76 4.0 4.7
Women 53 59 4.6 4.7
Age 16-19 54 56 13.3 14.2
Black 68 64 9.7 10.5
Men 73 69 10.1 11.1
Women 64 60 9.3 10.0
Age 16-19 39 39 29.3 33.6
Hispanic origin 66 66 7.5 8.9
Men 77 80 6.7 7.9
Women 56 53 8.6 10.2
Age 16-19 40 43 19.4 23.6
aSource: (Bureau, 1998, p. 218).
The civilian labor force in Florida is located largely inside Bureau of the Census defined
metropolitan statistical areas; only six percent was located outside metropolitan statistical areas
in 1998 (Florida (d), 1999). Importantly, however, much agricultural employment in Florida
takes place inside metropolitan statistical areas, such as in Palm Beach, Polk, Collier, Dade,
Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, and St. Lucie counties. The metropolitan statistical areas had a
lower unemployment rate, 4.2%, in 1998 than did the balance of the state outside metropolitan
statistical areas, 5.8% (calculated from Florida (d),1999).
The Job Market
Employment for the State of Florida was estimated at 6,982,000 in January 1999 (US,
BLS (a), 1999). Growth of employment over the past 20 years from 1978-1998 has been
impressive at an annual rate of 3.2%, just slightly higher than the growth rate of the labor force,
3.0% (calculated from Florida (c), 1999). The US employment rate of growth of 1.6% over the
same time period was just half the Florida rate (calculated from US BLS, 1999).
Most Florida employment is in the nonagricultural sector, and is currently increasing at
the fastest rate of any state in the US, increasing 4.2% over the year in 1998 (US BLS, 1999).
The services sector is by far the largest source of employment, accounting for 36% of Florida's
employment. The next largest sector is retail trade, accounting for 20% of Florida's
employment, followed by government with 14%. The remaining sectors of manufacturing,
finance-insurance-real estate, wholesale trade, construction, transportation-communications-
public utilities, and mining (in declining order of magnitude) each account for seven percent or
less of Florida nonagricultural employment (Florida (a), 1999).
Nonagricultural employment in Florida is primarily located inside metropolitan statistical
areas, 94% in 1998. Moreover, the four largest metropolitan areas (Tampa-St. Petersburg-
Clearwater, Miami, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale) account for 54% of nonagricultural
employment, and all are in the southern part of the state. The result is that employment in rural
areas is overshadowed by the large, South Florida, metropolitan areas. Nevertheless, most
agricultural employment is located in the same South Florida areas.
The labor market for agricultural work at the national level is dominated by self-
employed persons, i.e. farm operators and their families. Using the average number of persons
employed over the year, self-employed and unpaid family workers account for 69% of the
persons employed in US agriculture, but only 38% of the persons employed in Florida
agriculture. The only other states of the country with this characteristic are Arizona, California
and Washington, all states with significant production of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Consequently, hired farm worker issues are considerably more important in Florida and the
above selected states than is the case for the nation as a whole.
Labor expenditures by Florida farms in 1997 represented 32% of all production expenses,
by far the largest expense category, and unchanged from 1992 (USDA, 1999, p. 21). Two-thirds
of the labor expenditure is incurred by workers employed directly by the farm; the remaining
one-third is incurred through contracting with other firms for labor services, such as harvesting,
management services, or a variety of other activities.
Farm employment data have historically been, and continue to be, compiled separately
from nonagricultural employment data. The primary data source of data for agricultural
employment is the USDA quarterly publication entitled Farm Labor (USDA, various). Wage
rates, numbers of persons employed, and hours of work are reported for the months of January,
April, July and October, in each case obtaining information pertaining to the week including the
12th day of the month.
Average annual hired employment for Florida is illustrated in Figure 1. Workers who
were hired directly by farmers are identified as direct hire workers; workers employed on farms
via a third party such as a labor contractor, are identified as agricultural service workers. The
quarterly surveys were discontinued from 1981-1984, providing data for only one or two quarters
of each year. As a result, annual employment estimates are not available for those years, and are
not included in the figure. There is some indication of a slight downward trend in the number of
workers. The average number of direct hire workers in 1998 was 50,000, and there were another
10,000 agricultural service workers when averaged over the four quarterly periods, for a
'Unless otherwise stated, all data in this section come from Farm Labor (USDA, various).
combined total of 60,000. The largest number throughout the period illustrated was the
combined total of 84,500 in 1980.
S70 '- All Workers,,
Direct Hire Workers
20 Agricultural Service Workers
.5 20 --- I---------------
Figure 1. Florida farm workers, annual averages
An important characterization of hired farm employment in Florida is the quarterly
pattern. The 1998 combined quarterly employment level ranged from 49,000 jobs in July to
70,000 jobs in April. As is apparent in Figure 2, the seasonal peaks and troughs were much more
pronounced prior to 1995. One of the major recent changes that has taken place in Florida
agricultural employment is a sharp reduction in peak employment during the winter months, the
main harvest season. By comparison, peak employment in 1980 was 111,000 jobs in April,
while the April peak had dropped to 70,000 jobs by 1998.
Figure 2. Florida farm workers, quarterly
Adjusting the data for the number of hours reported working (Figure 3) indicates a less
abrupt change in 1995 than simply the number of workers suggests. The peak number of hours
occurs in the mid-1980s, but the pattern starting in 1995 is not markedly different than the 1989-
1991 period. The 1992-94 period, while still having higher peaks, is not as dramatically different
from the subsequent years after the adjustment for hours worked. There appears to have been
sufficient change in the number of hours worked per week to compensate in part for a smaller
number of jobs.
o -^ -0 .14 4 -e
Figure 3. Hours of Florida farm work
Worker compensation is a concern of both the worker and the employer. Figure 4
illustrates the pattern of reported wage rates for workers hired directly by farmers, and those
employed under contract, i.e. agricultural service workers. There is some indication that
agricultural service workers are paid slightly higher than the workers hired directly by farmers.
One possible explanation is that agricultural service workers are more likely to be piece rate
workers than are direct hire workers, and piece rate workers have historically had higher hourly
earnings than workers paid by the hour.2 However, both have moved together over time.
Average annual wage rates for 1998 were $7.91 and $8.52 for direct hire workers and
agricultural service workers, respectively. The January 1999 rates were $8.25 and $8.50 in
comparison to $8.22 and $8.80 for January 1998, again for direct hire and agricultural service
Direct Hire Workers
1- Agricultural Service Workers
0 Ab ?. .( .% .V .. .l .
Figure 4. Florida farm wage rates
2 Hourly earnings for piece rate workers are no longer reported separately in Farm Labor (USDA,
Florida farm wage rates have typically been somewhat higher than farm wage rates for
the US as a whole. The 1998 annual averages were $7.91 for Florida and $7.47 for the US. By
comparison, US production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls earned an
average of $12.77 per hour (US BLS (b), 1999). An indication of how well workers have fared
over time must account for changes in the general price level. Figure 5 illustrates the pattern of
wage rates over time adjusting for changes in the general price level in the economy.3 When
expressed in 1992 dollars, the Florida hourly farm wage rate is virtually the same in 1998 ($7.09)
as it was in 1974 ($6.93).4 Figure 5 also includes the inflation adjusted wage rate for all US
direct hire farm workers for comparison. In constant 1992 dollars, the 1998 Florida and US farm
wage rates were $7.02 and $6.63, respectively.
Figure 5. Constant $ wage rates: Florida and US
The pattern of real earnings in an occupation over time is primarily determined by two
sets of factors: the supply and demand for labor in the occupation, and changes in skill
requirements for the occupation. If the demand for labor increases more than the supply of labor
for an occupation, real wages would be expected to rise in the occupation. With the reverse
condition, real wages would be expected to fall. If there were increasing skill requirements, real
wages would be expected to rise, other things equal. The Florida hired farm labor market is
dominated by manual labor jobs such as harvesting for which the skill requirements have not
changed over time. In the absence of changing skill requirements, the constant real wage rates
suggest that the supply and demand for labor have been more or less in equilibrium over time. A
continuing major uncertainty in this context is the nation's informal immigration policy. The
presence of undocumented workers is widely acknowledged in agriculture, as well as in many
other industries. Dramatically more restrictive approaches to controlling illegal immigration and
working by undocumented workers could abruptly alter the balance between the supply and
demand for farm workers.
3 Only direct hire workers are included since agricultural service wage rates are not available on a
continuous basis for the US.
4 The deflator index used is the gross domestic product (GDP) deflator for the US (US BEA,
The annual average Florida farm wage rate of $7.91 is considerably above the minimum
wage rate of $5.15 per hour. However, annual earnings tend to be quite low as a result of
irregular employment throughout the year. Median personal income was estimated to be
between $5,000 and $7,500 for Florida farm workers working in crops, and between $7,500 and
$9,999 per year for farm worker families (Aguirre, 1998, p. 4). Comparable estimates of annual
incomes have been obtained for harvest workers in Florida oranges (Polopolus and Emerson,
The nature of harvest work is that there is an intense labor requirement for a relatively
short duration of time in a particular orange grove or tomato field. Only extremely large farms
can employ a work force for harvesting for an extensive duration of time. Otherwise, workers
must go from one producer to another to patch together jobs throughout the season. One way in
which this has been accomplished is through third party labor contractors who coordinate
workers and harvesting needs of growers.
These intense localized, but brief, labor requirements continue to result in workers
migrating for agricultural work. The National Agricultural Worker Survey (NAWS) estimate of
agricultural workers who migrate for work in Florida agricultural crops is 43% (Aguirre, 1998, p.
1). Migratory workers face special needs for temporary housing and other community services
while working in various locations. The Florida NAWS report indicates that an increasing
percentage of farm workers are living in housing provided by their employer: one-third in the
1992-97 period (Aguirre, 1998, pp. 5-6).
The shift in citrus production further south following the devastating freezes in the 1980s
has made the housing and services problem particularly acute in the southwest Florida area
where there has been dramatic expansion of citrus production. Roka and Cook, for example,
report an estimated 31,000 migrant farm workers in southwest Florida in January 1998, but a
permitted housing capacity in migrant farm worker housing for only 12,846 (Roka and Cook,
1998, pp. 30-31).
The hired farm work force, particularly in crop related agriculture is largely of Hispanic
origin. The NAWS special report for Florida reports an estimated 82 percent of workers in
Florida crop agriculture to be of Hispanic origin (Aguirre, 1998, p. 2). Similar results were
obtained based on interviews of Florida citrus harvest workers during the early 1990s (Polopolus
and Emerson, 1997). This is a dramatic shift from the Florida farm work force in 1970. At that
time, an extensive farm labor survey revealed that 56% of the farm workers were Black, and
fewer than 10% were Hispanic (Polopolus and Emerson, 1975).
Coincident with most of the current workers being of Hispanic origin is that 75% of the
Florida NAWS workers were born outside the United States (Aguirre, 1998, p. 2). Concerns are
frequently raised about whether or not workers are legally eligible to work in the US. The
Florida NAWS estimate is that 41% of the workers were undocumented for the period 1992-
1997 (Aguirre, 1998, p. 3).
Other characteristics of the Florida farm work force reported in the Florida NAWS
special report are the following (Aguirre, 1998):
* 75% of the workers are men
* 50% of the workers are married
* average age is 33 years
* an average of six years of school completed
* 62% of the workers in the 1992-97 period lived with no other family members
* 57% of the farm workers in the 1992-97 period received health insurance from their
Age, education, and marital status are corroborated by recent surveys of Florida orange harvest
workers. Regarding gender, Polopolus and Emerson found 90% to be male, perhaps since their
sample was specifically orange harvest workers (1997).
The number of people self-employed in Florida agriculture was estimated to be 25,500
for 1998 (USDA, 1998). An additional 5,800 persons were reported as unpaid family workers.
There does not appear to be any particular trend to the number of self-employed persons in
agriculture since 1982, the first year in which self-employment was separately estimated. Due to
the separation of labor data collection for farm and nonfarm data, income data are not readily
available for self-employed persons in agriculture. Indicative of the problem is that only 45% of
farm operators reported that farming was their principal occupation in 1997 (USDA, 1999). By
the same token, however, the broad participation of farm operators and their families in the
nonfarm labor market has served to equalize farm household incomes with household incomes in
the remainder of the economy.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
The strength of the economy dictates the health of the labor market. The current
environment is very robust, yielding the lowest unemployment rate in 26 years for Florida. A
continuing strong labor market means increased competition for labor by farm employers from
other nonfarm employers. A retraction of the economy, on the other hand, would be directly
reflected in the labor markets through a combination of higher unemployment, slower (or no)
new job creation, and lower economic returns. It is typically reflected in the farm labor market
through an increased supply of labor to agriculture. The latter result while typically beneficial to
the employer, is clearly unfavorable for persons trying to make a living from farm work.
The course of immigration policy is a major determinant of the availability of labor to
agriculture. Significant and effective changes in immigration policy or enforcement could
dramatically reduce the supply of labor to low-skill jobs where language is not a barrier,
including unskilled agricultural employment. In the absence of other major changes, wage rates
and the cost of labor would be expected to rise.
The continuing globalization of the economy will have implications for Florida labor
markets. In general, globalization means greater specialization in labor markets as nations trade
products with each other to achieve the gains in accordance with their natural or attained
comparative advantage. One aspect of this is the more frequent change of jobs as businesses and
opportunities change much more rapidly. Another aspect is the increasing return to adaptability
in the labor market, and an expectation of life-long learning. This environment is likely to be
problematic for the typical farm worker with very limited education. Furthermore, continued
globalization in the context of agricultural production places limits on the extent to which farm
workers can expect to achieve economic gains. Entrepreneurs when faced with competing
products from other countries against which they cannot compete will simply cease production
and turn to some alternative with higher returns. The result is potential job loss in that
commodity, although overall employment is unlikely to be greatly affected in the presence of
adaptable labor markets.
The course of new technologies bears directly on the farm labor market. To a large
extent, the development and adoption of new technologies will be driven by considerations such
as the previous two: immigration policy and globalization concerns. A common form of new
technology is mechanical harvesting. Widespread adoption of mechanical harvesting in citrus,
for example, would result in significant adjustment costs for present farm workers to obtain
The availability of housing and public services in locations where they are needed by
migratory workers can facilitate the availability of labor. Agricultural employers have often
found that good, available housing assists in maintaining a reliable work force. Limited
availability of public services, such as health services, schools, police and fire services, and
transportation can make it more difficult for an area to attract workers, particularly in a strong
Aguirre International. Farmworkers in Florida. Aguirre International, Inc., San Mateo, Ca.
April 2, 1998.
Bureau of Economic and Business Research. 1998 Florida Statistical Abstract. Gainesville,
University of Florida, 1998.
Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security (a). Current Employment Statistics.
LMI, Tallahassee, Fl., 1999. ftp://184.108.40.206/CES/12mthemp.jan.
(b). Florida Labor Force. LMI, Tallahassee, Fl., 1999. ftp://220.127.116.11/press/press.htm
(c). Labor Force Status of the Civilian Noninstitutional Population. LMI, Tallahassee,
Fl., 1999. ftp://18.104.22.168/laus/laus.htm statensa.xls.
(d). Labor Force Summary. LMI, Tallahassee, Fl., 1999.
Polopolus, Leo C., and Robert D. Emerson. Earnings, Productivity, and Demographics of
Florida Orange Harvest Workers, Early and Mid-Season Harvest, January-February 1995.
Staff Paper SP 97-2. Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Fl. February 1997.
Polopolus, Leo, and Robert D. Emerson. Florida Agricultural Labor and Unemployment
Insurance. Bulletin 767. Gainesville, Fl., University of Florida, January 1975.
Roka, Fritz, and Dorothy Cook. Farmworkers in Southwest Florida. Final Report. Immokalee,
Fl., September 30, 1998.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1998. Washington, D.C.,
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Gross Domestic Product. (Annual.wk3 computer file).
Department of Commerce. Washington, D.C., 1999.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a). Civilian Labor Force. Department of Labor. Washington,
D.C., 1999. http://22.214.171.124/cgi-bin/dsrv.
(b). Economy at a Glance. Department of Labor. Washington, D.C., 1999.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1997 Census of Agriculture. State Data, Vol. 1 Florida.
Washington, D.C., 1999. www.nass.usda.gov/census/census97/volumel/flchpl.pdf.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farm Labor. NASS. Washington, D.C., various.
GROWTH, CHANGE AND CONTRAST
David Mulkey, Professor, Food and Resource Economics
Steve Jacob, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education and Communication
Suzanna Smith, Family, Youth and Community Sciences
Robert Emerson, Professor, Food and Resource Economics
March 18, 1999
GROWTH, CHANGE AND CONTRAST
Communities in Florida are impacted by a number of forces that are national and
international in scope. They face a range of problems including growth management,
economic development, affordable housing, overcrowded schools, and environmental
protection while they struggle to provide adequate care for children, the elderly, and low
income families and individuals. The story is one of profound change: population growth and
urbanization, economic restructuring, changing social values, ethnic diversity and aging.
Florida is the fourth largest state in the nation with an estimated 1996 population of
more than 14 million people and will add roughly 2.4 million people over each of the next
two decades. Population is concentrated in large urban centers that continue to experience
the highest absolute increases of population in the state. The most rapidly growing areas are
the smaller, more rural counties located near existing urban areas. The future includes
continued growth and increased urbanization. The current population is ethnically diverse
and older than that of the nation. Both trends are expected to continue.
Communities also face pressures from a number of economic and social trends. The
traditional family is undergoing a transformation away from traditional two-parent
households in the direction of single-parent households and families where both parents work
full time. Communities are also being transformed into more specialized governmental
entities dependent on professional staffing and subject to broader sets of state and federal
regulations. Economic restructuring has resulted in a decline in traditional jobs and a shift
towards a global economy and employment in knowledge oriented industries. In rural areas,
agriculture is now dependent on the local economy and off farm income for survival, and in
urban areas of Florida, high-value agricultural crops struggle to compete with urban interests
for land and water resources.
Again, the story of communities in Florida is one of unprecedented change. Forces
of change include demographics, globalization and economic restructuring, changing social
values and the transformation of traditional families and communities. Florida communities
move into the next century facing a complex array of issues and challenges as they attempt
to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population.
GROWTH, CHANGE AND CONTRAST
Local communities in Florida are an important part of the social, economic and
cultural makeup of the state, the setting where most of life takes place, and the place where
people work, shop, and socialize. The community is where children meet people outside the
family, go to school and learn, and it is the place where many are buried after life is over.
More importantly, trends that impact society, the nation, and Florida are directly experienced
in local communities; social, cultural and economic change become real at the community
level (Wilkinson 1991). This draws on a definition that recognizes community as territory
where individuals are firmly anchored to a place (Jacob 1997), but also a definition that
recognizes community as more than geographic space or a territorial unit (a residential
development, zip code, city or county).
The concept of local society further defines community as the social organization of
a place within which social and economic institutions enables the day-to-day functioning of
residents: work, shopping, recreation, and other aspects of daily life (Jacob 1997). Key
ingredients in defining community and community involvement among residents involve
purposive actions that are: 1) locally oriented, 2) pursue locally oriented change
(improvement especially economic development), 3) are collective in nature, and 4) are
celebrations of place (Luloff 1990; Wilkinson 1991). Communities then, whether one thinks
in terms of local neighborhoods in more informal sense, or in the sense of more formally
defined geographic or political units such as cities or counties, are entities that may be judged
by how well they meet the needs of their residents. In Florida the community challenge is to
meet the growing and varied needs of an increasing and diverse population.
As they struggle to meet the everyday needs of citizens, communities in Florida are
impacted by a number of forces that are national and international in scope, and in many
cases, factors unique to Florida serve to intensify the impacts in the state. The story is one
of profound and prolonged change: population growth, urbanization, geographic
concentration, economic restructuring, changing social values, ethnic diversity and aging,
and in many cases, the reorganization of the political system through which decisions are
made. Communities face a range of problems including growth management, economic
development, affordable housing, overcrowded schools, and environmental protection while
providing adequate care for children, the elderly, and low income families and individuals.
Florida, in many ways mirrors the significant economic, social and demographic
change occurring in the nation as a whole. However, Florida is different from and often
serves as a bellwether for other states; it is a state of contrasts, a land of plenty and a land of
poverty. Wealthy retirees live within blocks of poor immigrant families; agricultural
production takes place in fields surrounded by development; young and old combined
approach one-half of all residents; large urban centers stand in stark contrast to rural
communities; and pockets of traditional rural culture struggle to coexist with modern urban
lifestyles. At least some aspect of the community mosaic that is Florida may be reflected by
available demographic and economic data.
Florida is the fourth largest state in the nation with an estimated 1996 population of
14.4 million people, expected to increase to more than 15.4 million people by the year 2000.
In 1996 the state was approximately 85% urban (percentage of residents in cities with a
population greater than 2500 or in a county with a central city with more than 50,000
residents) and only about 15 percent rural. Population increased by 32.7 percent over the
1980-1990 period and will increase by an additional 19.3 percent over the 1990-2000 period.
This amounts to a population increase of more than 5.6 million people over the 20 years from
1980 until the end of the present decade. Net migration continues to be the primary source
of population growth, accounting for 80 percent of the population increase over the 1990-
1996 period (1997 Florida Statistical Abstract).
Population is concentrated in large urban counties primarily in the central and
southern part of Florida. The ten largest counties (Dade, Broward, Palm Beach,
Hillsborough, Pinellas, Orange, Duval, Brevard, Polk, and Volusia) accounted for 8.9 million
residents in 1995, approximately 62% of total state population. At the other end of the
spectrum, 30 of 67 counties have fewer than 50,000 residents, and 19 counties have less than
25,000 people each. Rural counties tend to be located in the inland part of the state to the
south and in the north and northwest part of the state.
Florida's unique position as a "gateway" to the Caribbean and Latin America and its
attractiveness as a retirement destination has resulted in one of the more ethnically diverse
populations among the states and a relatively large number of older residents (1997 Florida
Statistical Abstract). For Florida:
* In 1995, 15 percent were Black and 14 percent were Hispanic, compared to 12 and
10 percent, respectively, for the country as a whole.
In 1997, 18 percent of residents were 65 and older compared to 13 percent for the
In some counties more than one-third of residents are 65 years of age or older.
In the past 20 years, one-half of the population growth has been from people 55 years
of age and older.
Economic growth in Florida has been equally impressive and tells much the same
story as that of population: rapid growth, urbanization and concentration. Employment in
Florida has grown rapidly over the past 30 years. Nonagricultural employment, the main
economic indicator, increased by 4.1 percent a year from slightly more than 1.9 million jobs
in 1968 to an estimate of almost 6.7 million jobs in 1998 (Florida Statistical Abstract 1997
and http://sun6.dms.state.fl.us/dles/). The services sector accounts for over one-third of total
jobs, retail trade for 20 percent, and government for 14 percent. Other sectors each account
for 7 percent or less of nonagricultural employment. The fastestjob growth is in areas related
to computers and jobs in health and social services account for nearly one-half of the 20
fastest growing occupations (Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security).
The estimated Florida average monthly labor force for 1998 was slightly over 7.3
million with almost 7 million employed. The most recent available data regarding labor
force participation rates (the percentage of the population over 16 years of age that are
actually employed or seeking work) are for 1994, indicating a rate of 62.6 percent (Florida
Statistical Abstract 1997). This is somewhat lower than for the U.S. as a whole (66.6%),
presumably due to the high proportion of retirees in Florida. The majority of the labor force
(82percent) in Florida is employed full time, and labor force participation rates are higher for
Blacks (67 percent) and Hispanics (64 percent) than for Whites (62 percent). The labor force
in 1994 was 54 percent male and 46 percent female with higher labor force participation rates
for men (71 percent) than for women (55 percent). The average 1998 unemployment rate was
4.5 percent. Based on earlier data (1994) unemployment rates were higher for Blacks (12
percent) and Hispanics (9 percent) compared to the overall rate of 6.6 percent.
Along with population, economic growth and employment in Florida has been
concentrated in the urban areas of the state. Metropolitan areas accounted for 92 percent of
total jobs in 1996, and the four largest (Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Miami, Orlando,
and Ft. Lauderdale) accounted for more that one-half of the total (Florida Statistical Abstract
1997). Only about 10 percent of the Florida labor force is located outside Bureau of the
Census defined metropolitan statistical areas.
Rapid economic and population growth in Florida has also come with significant
changes for Florida families, concerns for the working poor, health insurance coverage, and
pressure on the ability of the state and local governments to provide adequate public services.
The percentage of female-headed households has increased steadily, rising to 30 percent in
1995 compared to 26% for the United States (http://www.acct.org/cgi-bin/kconline.cgi)
raising concerns over lower incomes and higher poverty rates. Nationally, poverty rates are
highest for minority children in female-headed households, and this would likely be true in
Florida as well. In 1995, 16 percent of the population if Florida lived in poverty (Statistical
Abstract of the United States 1998), and 24 percent of children in Florida lived in poverty
(http://www.aecf.org/cgi-bin/kconline.cgi?). Data reported for 1995 indicate that 19.6
percent of Florida residents were not covered by private or public health insurance (U. S.
Bureau of the Census, 1998).
Of particular significance are the implications of rapid population increase for public
education in Florida. School enrollment in K-12 for the 1995-96 school year was almost 2.18
million students with an enrollment increase of more than 245,000 students between Fall
1991 and Fall 1995 (12.71 percent). Similarly, community colleges and the state university
system are experiencing record enrollments. For 1995-96, community college enrollment
was over 783,000 students and state university system enrollment was over 208,000 students.
Educational administrators at every level are struggling to provide adequate physical
facilities and qualified instructors to handle enrollment increases. At the same time, there is
evidence that suggests that Florida students fall below national averages with respect to some
indicators of educational achievement such as basic reading and mathematics and are not
fully prepared for college or university enrollment (Annie E. Casey Foundation 1997 and
Florida Statistical Abstract 1997).
Florida's future will see a continuation of population increase and urbanization. The
state is expected to add roughly 2.4 million people over each of the next two decades (2000-
2020) with the largest absolute growth taking place in existing, large urban counties (an
increase of 1.3 million people in each of the next two decades). The largest rates of growth
are expected to take place in smaller counties adjacent to existing urban areas. While the
state's population is projected to increase by slightly more than 15 percent over the 2000-
2010 period, the fastest growing counties (Flagler, Osceola, Hemando, Collier, Charlotte,
Gilchrist, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Citrus, and Santa Rosa) will experience growth rates ranging
from 23 to almost 38 percent. The spread of growth into more rural counties will result in the
intensification of debates over growth management issues and access to land and water
resources in the rural-urban fringe areas.
The older population and the minority population in Florida will continue to increase.
Over the 1990-2010 period, the population over 65 years of age will increase by almost 43
percent compared to 38 percent for the state as a whole. Between 1990 and 2010, residents
in the 80-84 age group will increase by 71 percent, and the 85 years of age and older age
group will increase by 127 percent. By the year 2005, 16 percent will be Black and 18
percent Hispanic. All minority groups will continue to increase between 1995-2025, but the
highest growth rate will be that for Hispanics (153 percent). By 2025, 24 percent of residents
will be Hispanic and 17 percent will be Black, compared to 18 percent and 14 percent for the
nation. In short, Florida communities now face problems resulting from a rapidly growing,
diverse and aging population and those problems are only going to intensify in the future.
Transformation of the Traditional Family
One of the most notable social trends of our time has been the transformation of the
traditional family. In Florida only 60 percent of households with children are headed by a
married couple (Florida Statistical Abstract 1998). Less than one-quarter of families fit the
traditional image with a husband as breadwinner and a wife as full-time homemaker (Florida
Children's Forum 1998). Most households have two breadwinners or are single-headed, a
fact that creates significant challenges for families and communities (Jacob 1997). There is
a gap of safe, affordable, and adequate childcare for working families (Florida Children's
Forum 1998). As a result, communities are, more than ever, addressing issues related to
childcare, especially for school-aged children. Particularly criticalis the unsupervised period
between the end of school and the time that parents get home from work. Most teen crime
occurs between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Fox and Newman 1998). Finally, the increased
hours of work on the part of parents leaves less time for community activities that create the
preferred environment for youth. Thus, as children and families need more support from the
community, fewer people have the time to provide that support.
Transformations Affecting the Community
Communities provide both the setting for families and children and also the arena
where individuals participate in local government. Unfortunately, as society in general
becomes more specialized (Warren 1978), local government must also be more specialized,
and individual participation becomes more difficult. Federal and state regulations
increasingly guide community actions, and local autonomy is being lost. The locus of control
is passing from community residents and local governments to extra-local agencies and
institutions; communities have less freedom than they once had (Luloff and Swanson 1995;
Warren 1978), and community choice and input is rarely part of the regulatory process
(Smith and Jepson 1993). All of these factors that have left many citizens disinclined to
participate in the local democracy (Wilkinson 1991). Further, where they exist, factors such
as: racism, sexism, ageism, and social intolerance have left many citizens alienated and
disaffected within their community (Luloff and Swanson 1995; Jacob 1997).
In addition, the community decision making process has become more technical, and
local governments and representatives need more expertise than in the past including
specialized staff, professional consultants, and legal counsel (Warren 1978; Wilkinson 1995).
Simultaneously, the responsibility of local government has increased. This trend has been
called de-evolution, and so far, welfare reform has been the most visible program. Along
with increased local responsibility for services such as job training (once provided at the state
and federal levels) comes the fact that much of the funding is only available to local
communities through a competitive grants process (Wilkinson 1995). Smaller and/or poorer
communities without the resources to hire specialized staff are likely to fall even further
behind (Beaulieu and Mulkey 1995).
Over the last three decades, Florida's communities have experienced tremendous
changes in their economic bases. This transformation in some cases can be described as a
shift from extractive industries and small manufacturing to being more retail and service-
based, but primarily to the fact that most of the state's economic growth has been retail and
service oriented (U.S. Decennial Census 1970; 1980; 1990). Though some communities
remain dependent on natural resources and manufacturing, as noted earlier, the retail and
service sectors are far more important (Florida Statistical Abstract 1998). Highly visible
within the state is the reliance upon income from tourists and retirees, but the new
information technologies represent the growth areas in the economy. However, many parts
of the state, primarily places outside the large urban areas mentioned in the previous section,
have not substantially capitalized on this trend, either because residents have not developed
the necessary skills or because the physical infrastructure is lacking (OTA 1991; Beaulieu
and Mulkey 1995).
However, despite the transformations noted, many communities still devote the bulk
of their development related energy and resources to recruiting "mature" manufacturing
businesses, a strategy much less viable than it once was (Deller 1993). Manufactured
products often become rapidly obsolete, and successful recruitment of a firm may only
provide jobs for a brief period, so location incentives may actually result in lost revenue.
Further there is a tendency for firm to seek places with even lower production costs,
particularly locations in developing countries. Further, many firms have become more
"footloose" and recruitment strategies relying on local incentives have enabled this process
(Kassab and Luloff 1993). Incentives, loans, favorable zoning, right to work laws, leniency
in environmental and other regulations, and tax breaks are ubiquitous (Deller 1993).
However, the generous nature of the incentives dampens the benefits of successful
recruitment, and almost always, another community is willing to offer more (Kassab and
Luloff 1993). Communities are often in direct competition with each other, often within the
same state, and often at the expense of local investments in human capital and physical
infrastructure that enhances the attractiveness of the community to newly emerging,
knowledge oriented businesses.
Nowadays most local retail and service businesses are owned by extra-local interests.
These firms remove profits from the local economy and reduce local multiplier effects
(Richardson 1979). Such franchise establishments have an advantage over local
entrepreneurs in that franchises are usually well capitalized and banks may be quicker to loan
such firms money. The banks themselves have also undergone a series of mergers resulting
in centralized offices in large urban centers with less knowledge of local conditions (Choi
1983). In addition, improvements in transportation systems and increased scale in many
retail operations have simply eliminated the need for many small towns and rural businesses.
Human and Social Capital Needs
Citizen disaffection and low educational achievement, when coupled with a lack of
local cooperation, organizational skills and experience, has reduced the ability of many
residents to control their future and that of their community (Luloff and Swanson 1995).
Many communities are not able to compete for a fair share of development resources; the
lack of technical assistance and expertise can make community development seem
impossible (Luloff and Swanson 1995; Wilkinson 1995).
From this perspective, Florida is, as noted, a state of contrasts with wealthy
communities juxtaposed with very poor places, and in some cases, entire regions have not
shared in the prosperity that is the statewide norm. This includes some inner city areas, large
sections of the panhandle, and other rural areas in the state. Poverty tends to be higher in the
most urban and rural communities of Florida, revolving around under-investment in the
educational, social, and physical infrastructure. However, despite the similarities in rural
and central-city poverty, academics and policy makers in the 1980s focused on the urban and
inner-city poor. In fact, poverty is more prevalent in rural than in urban areas, and many
ameliorative programs are either urban oriented or more effective in urban settings (Levitan
1991; Jensen and Eggebean 1994; Jensen and McLaughlin 1995).
Non-metropolitan residents are more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, or in
poverty. Rural economies grow more slowly and are less diversified. The impact of these
situations is a reduction in the well-being of rural residents relative to that of the larger
society. These problems are persistent and the Federal government has acknowledged them
through a Presidential initiative that unequivocally states "rural America today needs help"
(Economic Policy Council 1990 P:3). Littrell and Hobbs (1989 p:58) put it succinctly:
Modem political economies have tended to drain smaller communities of
many of their resources. This is especially true of human resources, given the
prevalent tendency for well-trained people from small communities to
migrate towards larger centers of employment. In effect, smaller
communities have tended to subsidize national and predominately urban
growth and development. Therefore, on equity grounds it is argued that it is
not only appropriate but it is necessary that development resources be
channeled back to smaller communities.
Communities and Small Farms
The relationship between communities and the agricultural sector is another example
of where Florida is similar to the nation, but where, at the same time, it is vastly different.
Historically the community-farm relationship has been one of interdependence with small
towns developing farm services, retail shops, markets, and transportation hubs to serve the
agricultural sector. This was particularly true in the period when the majority of the rural
population was involved activities directly related to agricultural production. As a result,
early rural development efforts at the national level were based on farm policy (Wilkinson
1995). At the same time, technological advances in agriculture have resulted in astounding
increases in agricultural productivity and dramatically reduced the number of people
involved in agriculture to less than three percent of the population (Browne et al. 1993). This
has radically changed the nature of agricultural and non-agricultural interdependence in rural
Rural areas are now less reliant on agriculture, and in fact, the non-metropolitan
economy is quite similar to that of metropolitan areas (Browne et al. 1993). Most rural
people work in either the service or manufacturing sectors. The changing nature of the farm-
community relationship really became apparent during the agricultural crisis of the 1980s.
Farms were more likely to survive in communities that were more economically diverse
where farm families had access to off-farm income. Where small communities once existed
because of the agricultural economy, today many small farms exist because of the local
community and its ability to generate off-farm income. Clearly, today's rural communities
extend far beyond the agricultural sector and development requires a much broader focus.
The national description of agriculture and its relationship to rural communities holds
true for much of rural Florida, particularly in the north and northwest part of the state where
agriculture continues to focus around smaller family farms producing traditional crops.
However, the picture is vastly different for agriculture in the central and southern part of
Florida where farms tend to be larger, more specialized, and focused on intensive production
of high-value crops (citrus, sugarcane, vegetables, horticultural crops, etc.). In fact, a
majority of farm-level cash receipts in Florida are generated in a very few large counties in
the central and southern part of the state, notably, in the same counties that are the largest and
most urban. For example, Palm Beach, Dade, Hillsborough and Orange counties are all
leading producers of agricultural commodities in the state. Agricultural-community
relationships in this part of the state hinge more around questions related to the competition
of land and water resources between agriculture and urban areas, problems more typical of
rural-urban fringe areas around the nation. Further, with continued increases in population
and the spread of urbanization, these conflicts are likely to intensify in the future.
FORCES OF CHANGE
This paper has reviewed major trends facing communities in Florida. The story is
one of unprecedented change-population growth and urbanization, economic expansion,
cultural and ethnic diversity, and an aging population. The result has been new and varied
challenges for Florida communities. The transformation of traditional families and
communities, the clash of cultures, the growing need for dependent care for children and the
elderly, the numbers of at-risk youth and the vulnerability of the working poor all have
placed increased demands on local communities and their ability to provide adequate public
The trends here will continue and will further transform society and local
communities. Florida and its communities will continue to be impacted by the globalization
of the economy, by technological change, by demographic change, by shifting values, and
by policy changes at the federal level of government. Florida is increasingly a part of the
global economy due to its location relative to the Caribbean and Latin America and is
subject to the basic economic restructuring taking place in the national economy. There is
a fundamental shift from labor intensive to knowledge intensive economic activities, a
technological revolution has affected, and continues to affect, virtually all aspects of
community and family life.
A strong national economy currently fuels economic growth in Florida, and
communications and service industries exhibit strong growth potential. However, Florida
also has a large number of part time, lower paying jobs in the retail and service sectors that
make it difficult for many families to move out of the ranks of the working poor. Further,
many of these jobs are particularly vulnerable to any downturns in the national economy that
would impact retail and service employment.
A major trend noted here is demographic change and the resulting diversity of the
population driven by an influx of retirees and immigrants, predominantly from the Caribbean
basin. Equally important are increased numbers of single-parent, particularly female-headed
households, increases in numbers of two-parent families where both parents work, and the
growing need for childcare and elder care services. There has been a shift in values from an
emphasis on community networks and traditional families to a focus on individual
achievement. Increased mobility has reduced kinship ties and networks of care that protected
children, youth, and elders and increased the need for substitute care. At the same time,
government, particularly at the federal level has redefined its presence in a way that reduces
involvement in programs that support family and community life, and the same may be true
for state government (Hewlett & West, 1998). In any event, communities face the prospect
of having to provide more support with less in the way of external funding to cover program
In short, Florida is a state of growth, change and contrast moving into the next
century with a complex array community related issues and needs. The challenge is to meet
the growing and varied needs of a diverse and changing population, a challenge requiring a
realistic appraisal state and community resources and a clear definition of priorities with
respect to services provided by communities in the state.
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Beaulieu, Lionel J., and David Mulkey (eds.). Investing in People: The Human Capital Needs of Rural
America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Browne,W., J. Skees, L. Swanson, P. Thompson, and L. Unnevehr 1992. Sacred Cows and Hot Potatoes:
Agrarian Myths in Agriculture Policy. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Choi, Kwang. (1983). Theories of Comparative Economic Growth. Iowa State University Press: Ames.
Commission on Long Term Care in Florida (1995). Managing Florida's Future. Tallahassee, FL: Commission
on Long Term Care in Florida.
Deller, Steven C. (1993). "Do state and local economic development efforts work?" Community Economics
no. 203 (September).
Economic Policy Council, United States Department of Agriculture. (1990). Rural Economic Development
for the 90s. Author: Washington D.C.
Florida Children's Forum (1998). Charting the Progress of Child Care in Florida. Tallahassee, FL: Florida
Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security (no date). Florida Workforce 2000. Tallahassee, FL:
Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security.
Florida Statistical Abstract 1997 and 1998. Gainesville, FL: Bureau of Business and Economic Research,
University of Florida.
Jacob, Steve, Lisa Bourke, and A.E. Luloff. 1997. Rural Community Stress, Distress, and Well- Being: A
Pennsylvania Assessment." Journal of Rural Studies 13(3):275-288.
Jensen, Leif. and David J. Eggebeen. (1994). "Nonmetropolitan poor children and reliance on public
assistance." Rural Sociology 59(1):45-65.
Jensen Leif, and Diane K. McLaughlin. "Human capital and nonmetropolitan poverty." pp. 111-138 in Lionel
J. Beaulieu and David Mulkey (eds.). Investing in People: The Human Capital Needs of Rural America.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Kassab, K. and A.E. Luloff (1993). "The New Buffalo Hunt: Chasing the Service Sector." Journal of the
Community Development Society, 24(2): 175-195.
Levitan., Sar A. Programs in Aid of the Poor. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Littrell, Donald W. and Daryl Hobbs. (1989). "Community development: the self-help approach." in James
A. Christenson and Jerry Robinson (eds.) Community Development in Perspective. Iowa State University
Luloff, A.E. (1990). "Community and social change: how do small communities act?" Pp. 214-227 in A.E.
Luloff and Louis E. Swanson, (eds.), Rural American Communities. Boulder, Co: Westview Press.
Luloff, A.E., and Louis E. Swanson. "Community agency and disaffection: enhancing collective resources."
pp. 351-372 in Lionel J. Beaulieu and David Mulkey (eds.). Investing i People: The Human Capital Needs
of Rural America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Office of Technology Assessment. (1991). Rural America and the Changing Communication Infrastructure.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Rank, M. (1994). Living on the edge. New York: Columbia University Press.
Richardson, Harry W. (1979). Regional Economics. Iowa State University Press: Ames.
Sherman, A. (1994). Wasting America's future. Boston: Beacon Press.
Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998. (1998). Washington D.C. U.S. Bureau of the Census.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1997). Health Insurance Coverage 1997. Current Population Reports. P60-202,
Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1970; 1980; 1990). Decennial Census, Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the
Wilkinson, Kenneth P. (1991). The Community in Rural America. New York, NY: Greenwood Press.
Wilkinson, Kenneth P. (1995). Social Forces Shaping the Future of Rural America." pp. 65-84 in Lionel
J. Beaulieu and David Mulkey (eds.). Investing in People: The Human Capital Needs of Rural America.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLIMATE/DEMOGRAPHICS
Florida's farm people, natural resources, technology, and economic and political conditions have
combined to produce a large, complex agricultural industry that will continue to be an important component of
the state's economy in the decade ahead. The future of Florida agriculture will be heavily influenced by drivers
of change including conditions in the general economy, growth and change in the composition of population, the
global nature of agriculture and trade, government policies and regulations, natural resource and environmental
issues and technology development.
Some likely implications of these drivers of change include the following trends:
1. Access and ability to utilize biotechnologies, information technologies and new production and processing
technologies appear to be critical factors of success for operating in the business climate of the future.
Computerized information technologies will create a demand for specialized knowledge on how to use the
information in successful farming operations.
2. The operating environment of the future will be characterized by increased risks.
3.The domestic market for agricultural products will continue to grow slowly as U.S. population and income
growth will support only modest increases in aggregate demand for food products. Continued increases in demand
for convenience foods and dining out are anticipated.
4. Continued rapid population growth will further intensify competition for Florida's vital natural resources. Few
other states will feel these trends as intensely as Florida.
5. Over the longer term, world population increases and economic growth will expand international markets for
farm products. The United States is likely to become increasingly important in world agricultural trade but this
role is not assured unless U.S. agriculture is extremely competitive in future export markets. For Florida
agriculture, changes resulting from FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) and GATT/WTO (General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization) negotiations and in trading relationships with Cuba
could be particularly important.
6. Potential exists for new economic opportunities from embracing environmental objectives.
Because of market competition, agriculture is increasingly thought to be transforming to a global
agricultural/food industry structure which is unlike the dispersed family farm system of the past. While
transformation to this worldwide structure is not certain, at least parts of this scenario are likely to characterize
the food industry of the 21st century.
The future of Florida agriculture will be heavily influenced by the drivers of change discussed in this
paper. Other forces of change may also be important. To survive and thrive, Florida agriculture will need to
compete in markets which are increasingly global and be compatible with the needs of a rapidly urbanizing state.
There are uncertainties and challenges ahead, but there will be opportunities as well for Florida agriculture in the
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLIMATE/DEMOGRAPHICS
Base Paper Committee
John Gordon, Chair
Food and Resource Economics
Bill Messina, Co-Chair
Food and Resource Economics
Hillsborough County Extension
Southwest Florida REC, Immokalee
Family, Youth and Community Sciences
Food and Resource Economics
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLIMATE/DEMOGRAPHICS
Florida's agriculture owes its unique character and viability to the abilities of its farm people,
the quantity and quality of its natural resources, the development of suitable technologies, and a
business and political climate conducive to agricultural growth and development. While there have
been many obstacles to overcome, these attributes have combined to allow Florida's agriculture to
develop from rather meager beginnings with a system that would feed and clothe at most about
200,000 people to the modem industry it is today. Florida agriculture provides fruit, vegetable, animal
and other agricultural products that now supply millions of people in markets throughout the world
with a farm population of less than one percent of the total. Florida and U.S. citizens are rightfully
proud of state and national agricultural industries which have given consumers high quality, abundant
food supplies for a lower percentage of consumer income than any other country in the history of the
This record of success has not been easily achieved. Historically, managers of agricultural and
related food businesses have been required to anticipate and react to a constantly changing array of
economic, biological and physical challenges. For example, the energy crisis of the 1970s, the freezes
of the 1980s and international trade agreements of the 1990s have had major impacts on Florida
The primary purpose of this paper is to identify and improve understanding of the major forces
or trends occurring in society which will influence the future of agriculture, natural and human
resources in Florida as we enter the new millennium. These major forces or "drivers of change" are
important because of the influence they will have on future decisions about agriculture, natural and
human resources in our state. The specific objectives of this paper are to: (1) identify and highlight
the major trends or drivers of change which will impact U.S. agriculture in the years ahead; (2)
discuss the nature of the changes which might be expected over the next several years; and (3)
explore the implications of these changes for Florida agriculture and its natural and human resources.
Not surprisingly, many of the important drivers of change in the past also will be influential
in shaping Florida agriculture, natural and human resources during the coming ten to twenty years.
However, the particular set of forces influencing the production, marketing, and consumption of food
and fiber products in the future will be different from past experiences. Florida agriculture will be
increasingly influenced by a complex and closely interrelated set of world, national, state and local
factors and events which will impact in ways which are not always obvious or easy to anticipate.
A logical ordering of the discussion is difficult as the important drivers of change have much
interdependency and are overlapping. Major drivers identified are discussed under the topics of
General Economy, Population Trends, Global Nature of Agriculture and Trade, Government Policies
and Regulations, Natural Resource and Environmental Issues, and Technology Development.
Further complicating this analysis is the fact that Florida's agriculture is more diverse than that
of most any state in our nation, with over 250 crop and livestock commodities produced
commercially. While these commodity sub-sectors may share common interests in general agriculture
issues, they can also be quite different from one another. Each commodity industry therefore may be
affected quite differently by the drivers of change. For example, vegetable growers may experience
very different effects from trade agreements than dairy producers. Individuals with a special interest
in a particular commodity are urged to reflect on implications of the likely changes in the context of
their specific commodity.
II. Trends/Drivers of Change
Agriculture is one of the economy's basic sectors. Conditions in the general economy have
important implications for agriculture, and economic conditions in agriculture affect the rest of the
economy. Over time, the interrelationships of agriculture with the general economy have increased
with important, but sometimes difficult to understand, consequences.
Key indicators of the general economy are growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and rates
of inflation, interest and unemployment. These indicators are important because they influence the
real income of consumers and, consequently, the demand for agricultural products. They also have
important effects on farm input costs. Various macroeconomic or monetary and fiscal policies are
utilized by government to influence these barometers of the general economy.
Macroeconomic policies of the federal government in the 1980s were an important prelude
to the 1990s. Prominent among the policies of the early 1980s was the determination of the Federal
Reserve Board to reduce inflation. This decision reversed a succession of earlier policies which had
contributed to very high rates of inflation. A second significant policy decision of the early 1980s was
reflected in tax cuts which sharply reduced federal government revenues. When combined with the
failure to significantly reduce spending, unprecedented budget deficits were assured.
The economic environment of the 1980s which resulted from these policies was characterized
by a reduction in inflation rates, high real interest rates (actual interest rate less the rate of inflation),
a strong dollar in international markets, and large federal deficits. In the early 1990s, the federal
government increased taxes and made efforts to restrict spending. Monetary policy has been
restrictive enough to avoid raising inflationary concerns but lax enough to encourage some growth
in the U.S. economy. This combination of policies has resulted in modest expansion of the economy
combined with low unemployment, interest and inflation rates. The federal budget has recently turned
from deficit to surplus and additional surpluses are projected. This record of accomplishment has been
realized and maintained despite the fact that many countries in Asia and South America are presently
experiencing severe financial crisis and recession. In part, as a consequence of this situation the
United States continues to experience a substantial trade deficit.
Although the overall U.S. economy has continued to grow, impacts on specific economic
sectors have been varied. For agriculture, which is both capital intensive and export sensitive, the
results have included recent reductions in agricultural exports (from a peak of over $60 billion in 1996
to an estimated $52 billion in 1999) and many commodity prices have been very low. Low citrus and
vegetable prices in the 1990s have resulted in substantial decreases in some Florida agricultural land
values. On the other hand, costs of many purchased inputs such as fuel, fertilizer, feed, and interest
rates paid for borrowed capital have also been reduced because of the competitive economy and low
The Federal Reserve Board appears determined to keep inflation in check. With favorable
inflation rates, modest growth rates and projected federal budget surpluses, the dominant concern in
the general economy is the prospect that weaknesses in the economies of other countries will spillover
into this country. Otherwise, although growth will not be constant, the longer term outlook for the
general U.S. economy appears bright and continued GDP growth rates of 2-4 percent a year appear
possible. Unemployment rates could be nudged lower because large numbers of women have been
absorbed into the labor force. Thus, the overall rate of growth of the labor force is likely to be
Population is a major determinant of demand for agricultural products. Annual per capital food
consumption in this country has been fairly stable for several years. Growth in U.S. population clearly
would be expected to increase the demand for food. Population is an important factor in other ways
as well. A growing population competes with agriculture and forestry for use of natural resources.
Changing demographic characteristics also can have important implications for tastes and preferences
and hence consumption patterns for various food products.
World population was an estimated 5.0 billion in 1987 and is projected to be 6.0 billion in
2000. Most of the population increases are occurring in the less developed countries. Many of these
countries have a serious need for food products, but because of extremely low per capital incomes
there is limited means for them to purchase products in the markets. It is important that these
countries develop their economies so that they will have additional income to purchase food products
in the world markets in order to avoid worsening nutritional conditions.
Generally accepted predictions of population numbers in the United States indicate gradual
but continued small increases. Demographers are predicting average annual population increases of
about 0.8 percent for the United States during the next twenty years. U.S. population is therefore
expected to increase from 275 million in 2000 to about 298 million in 2010 and 323 million in 2020.
Florida's population is expected to increase at a rate two to three times that of the nation as a whole;
from 15.4 million in 2000 to 17.8 million in 2010 and 20.3 million people in the year 2020 at which
time Florida is predicted to be the third most populous state, behind only California and Texas. These
projections reflect a net increase of over 650 people per day in the state of Florida during the next
Important demographic changes also are anticipated in both the United States in general and
Florida in particular. The proportion of the U.S. population younger than 44 years of age will decline
while older age groups will be proportionately larger. These age structure shifts will be particularly
dramatic in Florida. Florida is the only state with more than 18 percent of its existing population 65
years of age or older. No other state exceeds 16 percent of seniors. The leading edge of the baby
boom generation will be 55 years old in 2001. The impact of this generation of Americans has been
dramatic at all of its age levels. Although crime rates are down, a negative public image of crime in
south Florida may continue to encourage growth in central and northern areas of the state. All areas
of the state, however, are expected to experience continued population increases with existing heavily
populated areas receiving the largest number of new residents.
Global Nature of Agriculture and Trade
U.S. and Florida agriculture have experienced increasing integration with the world economy.
This internationalization of U.S. agriculture has brought increasing dependence on foreign trade for
product markets and sources of supply of important raw materials. Although, in general, increased
trade is felt to be in agriculture's interest there can be widely differing impacts depending on the
commodity and terms of trade.
In 1999, the ninth Round of multilateral trade negotiations under the GATT/WTO (General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization) are scheduled to begin. This is significant
for agricultural sectors in countries throughout the world because agricultural programs will be a
focus for this Round of negotiations as they were in the previous Uruguay Round. Preliminary
indications are that the final agreements under the upcoming Round of negotiations will undoubtedly
represent another significant step toward the globalization of world agricultural production and trade.
At the same time, trade liberalization is high on the agenda of governments throughout the
Western Hemisphere as a result of commitments to have a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
in place by the year 2005. Policy adjustments which will be required under the FTAA are likely to
dramatically influence and significantly realign competitive structures for all industries and business
sectors throughout the hemisphere. To the extent that the liberalization process which took place
under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an indicator, both challenges and
opportunities can be expected to arise for U.S. agriculture as a result of implementation of the FTAA.
Because the FTAA will include Brazil (the world's largest citrus producer and one of the
world's largest sugar producers) and a number of other countries which are significant fruit and
vegetable producers (such as Chile), Florida's agricultural sector, in particular, needs to be prepared
for the potential competitive challenges that await. However, agricultural interests in the state also
should be on the lookout for possible new market opportunities which may arise from the counter
seasonal nature of agricultural production patterns in North and South America.
Still, another potential policy issue of importance is related to U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Because of the geographic proximity of Florida, the striking similarity of their traditional agricultural
production patterns, and undeniable historical and cultural ties, a resumption of trade and commercial
relations between the Unites States and Cuba, whenever it may occur, will have important
implications for the agricultural sector in Florida. Moreover, given the extensive volume of
agricultural trade between the two countries prior to the imposition of the U.S. embargo in 1960,
many opportunities also can be anticipated for U.S. agriculture when the embargo is lifted. While no
one knows when such a change may take place, Florida and U.S. agriculture need to be prepared for
such an eventuality.
Government Policies and Regulations
Public policies reflect the ways that citizens and elected officials wish to improve upon the
outcomes of the market. Accumulation of supplies of agricultural products and low farm income have
in the past brought forth attempts by the federal government to improve the economic situation of
farmers. Such intervention has occurred through attempts to restrict supplies, increase demand or by
direct support of farm income. Historically, much of Florida's agriculture citrus, vegetables and
ornamentals has not been affected by the mainstream agricultural commodity programs. Peanuts,
tobacco, sugar and dairy are commodities produced in Florida that have been affected by these
programs. The 1996 Farm Bill was intended by Congress and the Administration to phase out
traditional price and income support features of U.S. agriculture programs that have evolved from
the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. Future agricultural policies are expected to continue the
philosophy of a smaller government role in commodity programs.
Farming in the United States continues to undergo significant structural adjustments and farm
size distribution and saving the family farm concerns arise periodically as political issues. Estimates
indicate that more than 75 percent of U.S. farms rely heavily on off-farm income to provide financial
support for the farm and lifestyle for the family. While these structural difficulties are not likely to be
completely ignored, U.S. society and policy makers have never been willing to commit to policies
which significantly influence the long run trends toward fewer and larger farms.
In recent years a large number of regulations, laws, rules, ordinances and restrictions have
been developed to achieve goals and objectives often related to the environment or worker health and
safety which are generally considered desirable by society. These regulations can impact significantly
on Florida agriculture and often with unintended consequences. The number of regulatory agencies
has also proliferated. More than thirty county, state, and federal agencies regulate the production of
food and fiber in the state. Meeting the requirements of these regulatory agencies ranks high among
farmers as constraints on production as regulatory pressures add to production costs, thereby
diminishing the competitive position of Florida producers. Because of the complexity of the
regulations, farmers frequently hire technical consultants to assist them in meeting the requirements.
Consumers have long held strong interest in food price policies which result in low, but stable,
food prices. They are also interested in issues related to nutrition, food safety and food quality.
Growth in consumption of fruits and vegetables has been credited to the increased interest of
consumers in healthier diets. Per capital consumption of selected vegetables and melons increased 23
percent from 1976 to 1996. Increased demand for quality is evidenced in a 38 percent increase in per
capital use of fresh vegetables over that same time period.
Interest in food safety is evident in the increased demand for Country of Origin labeling.
Consumers are interested in safer foods and the assurances provided because U.S. producers are
required to follow regulations intended to produce safer food. Interests in Country of Origin labeling
on the part of producers are the result of increased regulations on U.S. producers relative to other
global producers to produce safe food and the need to be able to differentiate their product in the
market to communicate that safety to consumers. The recently enacted Food Quality Protection Act
is an effort on the part of policy makers to assure the safety of domestically produced food.
Florida farmers will continue to find that nonagricultural programs and regulations emanating
from agencies other than the USDA will have significant impacts on farm operations. Environmental
regulations, foreign policies, monetary policies, transportation regulations, land use policies, etc., are
examples of such government activity.
Natural Resource and Environmental Issues
Agriculture is heavily influenced by the natural resource base. Florida's climate, soils, water,
forests and unique ecosystems are vitally important to the state's agriculture, but they also contribute
to the attractiveness of the state for uses which compete with agriculture. Population projections
indicate that these competing pressures will only increase during the next ten to twenty years.
Large acreage of Florida's farmland are being converted to urban uses although the exact
amount lost each year is difficult to determine. Occasionally, the loss of agricultural land in Florida
is raised as an issue of concern. However, with adequate supplies of food items in stores and
downward pressure on farm prices and incomes, many farmers are more concerned about maintaining
their option to sell or use their land for a purpose other than agriculture, if necessary. In many cases
it is the possible non-agricultural use of the land which supports the price of the land and allows the
farmer to borrow money.
Surface waters comprise about 18 percent of the total area of Florida. These lakes and rivers
are attractive for recreational and commercial uses. In some cases their waters are used
consumptively. However, groundwater is the source for almost 90 percent of the public water
supplies in Florida and is the source for about half of the water used for irrigation. Water withdrawals
are replaced by infiltrating rain water in recharge areas that are increasingly being identified and
protected. Competition for water is a growing concern. As potable water becomes an ever more
valued resource for Florida's urbanization and growth, the manner in which agriculture, forestry and
resource management practices affect this resource will receive even greater review and, very likely,
even greater restrictions will be implemented in the future. Water conservation alone will not solve
the problems. Water for irrigation purposes will become increasingly expensive and water planning
efforts will likely assign higher priority to urban requirements than to agricultural needs. Furthermore,
groundwater is readily recharged by rain and surface runoff in much of the state and is easily
contaminated by chemicals from spills, surface discharges, dumps, landfills and pesticide applications.
Protection of the quality of the fresh water supply is, and will continue to be, a major concern.
The state contains a variety of unique ecosystems. These contribute to a rich diversity of plant
and animal species that are important, not only to Florida residents, but to the entire nation. Both
regulatory strategies and direct purchase of such landscapes are approaches to their protection which
will continue over the foreseeable future. Public policy in Florida has aggressively pursued public
acquisition of environmentally sensitive land. In the last 10 years, the State's CARL (Conservation
and Recreation Lands) program alone has spent over $1 billion on acquisition of environmentally
sensitive land across Florida. In Collier County, almost 70 percent of the land area is targeted for
public ownership. Some of the interest and activity in protecting unique ecosystems will affect
North Florida remains one of the most intensively managed forest ecosystems in the world.
This is due in part to the favorable climate, soils and topography. A more important reason for this
development is the location of many wood-based primary production facilities in the Southeastern
Coastal Plain. Intensive forest management, via the extensive implementation of pine mono-culture,
has been adopted to better capitalize on the region's long-term forest land investment opportunities.
This wealth of natural resources offers opportunities, responsibilities and problems to Florida
farmers and foresters. The very diversity and uniqueness of the ecosystem places a responsibility on
managers to seek operating systems that will be economically productive without destroying the
environment. Otherwise, increased regulation is assured. Florida residents have shown that they want
to live in an environment free of agricultural odors and water pollution. However, the greatest threat
to the resources and to the farming community comes from the influx of population from outside the
state, both as tourists and as new residents. The very attractiveness of Florida resources, bringing in
new people, increases the competition for the resources and make it more difficult to preserve the
quality of the environment.
Over the last two decades, development and adoption of new technology has been the single
most important factor allowing Florida agriculture to remain competitive in the increasingly global
marketplace. Technology improvements can also result in practices which are more compatible with
environmental and natural resource needs.
The potential for technological advances in agriculture over the next few years is substantial.
Per unit decreases in cost of production made possible by this technology will largely determine the
successful agricultural enterprises. Having the best technologies will be absolutely essential to
success. As other countries in the world are beginning to adopt many of these cutting-edge
technologies and as control of the research migrates from the public to the private sector, there are
serious questions as to the extent to which Florida agriculture will be able to maintain its competitive
position. Two major types of technologies are of most interest currently, information technology and
Information technologies are rapidly changing the way we live and conduct business. The
ability to communicate and access information instantaneously rather than in days and weeks has
enormous management implications. The Internet is a major contributor to globalizing markets.
Advances in remote sensing and monitoring technology will improve precision management of
irrigation, drainage, fertilization, pest management and protection from weather hazards.
Over the past decade, biotechnology research has dramatically changed the scope, direction,
and intensity of agricultural research programs. This impact will continue in the future, especially
initially as related to plant science. Previously, these programs were predominantly conducted under
the auspices of the public sector. In recent years, however, a larger proportion of this research has
been conducted by the private sector and, in many cases, public-sector research has drastically
declined. Programs being supported by the private sector are selected based on profit potential and
thus, priorities of the biotech research agenda are being influenced.
Pests and pest populations continue to increase because of increases in mono-cropping, rapid
resistance of various pests to control measures, globalization of markets, and environmental
regulations. In order to accelerate global ability to produce crops profitably, research efforts in the
area of bioengineering, marker-assisted breeding, and other areas of biotechnology have been
instituted. Economic measures will increasingly be used to help justify the development of this
technology and experience to this point suggests that the private sector companies funding this
research will initially target those technologies with the largest potential market; i.e., row crops such
as corn, soybeans, cotton, etc. For example, last year some 41 million acres, or 15 to 20 percent of
total U.S. crop area was dedicated to products of biotechnology, i.e., transgenic plants. (The major
products were Roundup-ready soybean, BT cotton, and BT corn.) Analysts predict that worldwide
sales of agricultural biotechnology will surpass $300 billion in the next 10 years.
Conversely, while horticultural crops represent about 35 percent of the value of all crops
grown in the United States, because of their relatively high value, they only utilize around 5 percent
of the land devoted to crop production. Thus, when the private sector looks at their research spending
priorities for these commodities, they quickly become less important. Minor crops such as the
horticultural crops, which are the mainstay of the Florida agricultural industries, may or may not fit
into the economic mainstream of commercial biotechnology companies.
Florida producers will feel the global change and concentration of agricultural firms which
produce and sell pesticides, fertilizers, farm machinery, and seeds, now and in the future. Growers
may have fewer choices and less competition among a variety of commercial vendors which may lead
to problems in obtaining certain seeds of various specialty crops, as well as not being able to develop
interest by large companies for solving specific problems pertaining to potentially only Florida
producers. The area of enlightenment and new discovery through biotechnology, a potential major
product of these large firms, might help Florida producers solve problems in both the short term and
long term for which there previously were no apparent solution. Besides increasing productivity and
improved quality traits, growers might be the beneficiaries of new and improved varieties containing
resistance to multiple diseases and insect pests through biotechnology.
Acceptance in the United States of crops and other products derived from biotechnology has
been quite high, and thus, should not be a deterrent to the use of these technologies. Florida
producers, for the most part, not only have a more diverse set of problems, but generally a more
intense set of problems once they are presented. Such examples are Citrus Tristeza Virus, natural
disasters from hurricanes, water and freezes, higher incidence of fungi and bacterial diseases due to
conducive environmental conditions for the pathogens, and higher incidences of new diseases and new
insects due to Florida's location and the movement of both people and materials in and out of the
State. In the 1990's for instance, Florida not only had a new whitefly introduced, but the whitefly also
carried a new Gemini Virus. More recently, Citrus Tristeza Virus was localized from area to area, tree
to tree, because of the lack of virulent vectors to move the pathogens freely throughout Florida's
citrus groves. Within the last two years a new insect, the Citrus Brown Aphid, has come into Florida
whereby this insect has been able to vehemently vector Citrus Tristeza Virus, causing potential havoc
among citrus producers. This continues to be the case of citrus canker and other diseases for which
we have no cure. It is to the advantage of all of the Florida producers to accentuate the efforts related
to and derived from biotechnology to solve these problems. The addition of new chemicals and
strategies related to potential environmental pollutants belongs in the past, thus, it will be up to
researchers to develop strategies to solve these problems without causing additional problems.
The factors which characterize Florida's agriculture as being one which produces high value,
high cost commodities under sophisticated management are factors which also drive up the resource
requirements for its agricultural science base. Also, in other parts of the country, research in one state
usually has application to neighboring states. But, as previously noted, Florida produces a large
number of highly specialized and unique crops, not grown in many other states. Thus, Florida's
agriculture benefits less from knowledge developed elsewhere. Increasingly, these technologies are
controlled by private companies with patents and licenses. Publicly supported research and
educational programs will be required to assure that all sizes and types of farms understand how to
utilize and adjust to the available technology.
Some implications of these drivers of change are cautiously offered.
1. Access and ability to utilize technology appears to be the critical factor of success for operating
in the business climate of the future. In particular, firms able to capture the benefits ofbiotechnologies
and information technologies will be the most efficient.
2. The operating environment of the future will be characterized by increased risk. The U.S.
government appears less willing to offer a safety net than in the past. Managers will need to
successfully deal with uncertainties from world markets, technologies, and government policies as
well as biological and weather related risks.
3. Competitive advantage in agricultural production is becoming less a function of natural factors and
more a function of the extent to which cost-effective technology is utilized. The real competitive
advantages of U.S. farmers today lie in their high output per unit of labor and in the scientific and
industrial infrastructure that supports agriculture production and marketing.
4. The domestic market for agricultural products will continue to grow slowly as U.S. population and
income growth will support only modest increases in aggregate demand for food products.
Increasing incomes and an aging population will cause further shifts in demand for food products;
some of these shifts could be dramatic. Vegetables, fruits, and selected seafood and meat products
may be increasingly desired. Increased consumer income and improvements in products are expected
to result in continued increases in demand for convenience foods and dining out as well as for
ornamental plants and foliage products.
5. Increasingly, many agricultural products compete in a national or international market and are
therefore affected very little by local increases in population. However, Florida's large and rapidly
growing population will offer some opportunities for specialty products that serve local markets. U-
pick and roadside vegetable and fruit stands are evidence of local markets offering survival strategies
or niches to some producers.
6. Continued rapid population growth will intensify competition for Florida's vital natural resources.
Increased nonagricultural demand for resources will place upward pressure on water and land prices,
increase pressure for stricter environmental controls on farming methods and result in more control
of state agricultural legislation by urban interests. Few other states will feel these trends as intensely
as Florida. Political responses to these problems have picked up momentum dramatically from state
and local government concern about growth management.
7. The potential exists for new economic opportunities from embracing environmental objectives.
Some land owners are starting to capitalize on their native wildlife resources and exploring the
potential ofecotourism. "Green" labels, which endorse environmentally friendly production practices,
might provide Florida producers with niche marketing opportunities. Finally, as we better define the
economic values of environmental resources, opportunities may develop to compensate land owners
and agricultural producers directly for management practices which enhance and preserve
8. Over the longer term, world population increases and economic growth will expand international
markets for farm products. Protein and other desired foods will continue to increase in importance
as people in developing countries upgrade their diets. All regions of the world will strive to increase
their ability to produce food. Many countries with debt problems will attempt to limit import
purchases. These countries are under enormous financial pressures to increase their exports and
decrease imports. In addition, many countries have their own internal agriculture policies which
stimulate production and protect their markets. Consequently, the United States is likely to be
increasingly important in world agricultural trade, but this role is not assured unless U.S. agriculture
is extremely competitive in future export markets. For Florida agriculture, changes in trading
relationships with Cuba and changes resulting from GATT/WTO and FTAA negotiations could be
9. Computerized information technologies will create a demand for specialized knowledge on how
to use the information in successful farming operations. Specialized legal, financial, marketing, and
accounting services will be increasingly needed. Large farms will turn increasingly to specialized
sources for information, but the vast majority of family farms will continue to rely predominantly on
traditional agencies like the Extension Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service for
IV. Summary and Conclusions
Florida's farm people, natural resources, technology, and economic and political conditions
have combined to produce a large, complex agricultural industry that will continue to be an important
component of the state's economy in the decade ahead. The setting in which agriculture will be
operating will be influenced by conditions in the general economy, growth and change in the
composition of population, the global nature of agriculture and trade, government policies and
regulations, natural resource availability and technology development. These drivers of change will
cause the general setting to be somewhat different than it was in the recent past. However, the dual
challenge to Florida agriculture to be increasingly cost competitive and, at the same time, be
compatible with an increasingly urban Florida will be even more intense in the years ahead. Success
in the compatibility area will depend on the willingness of farmers and urban interests to discuss their
problems and look to new ideas and technologies for help in finding mutually acceptable compromise
Because of market competition, agriculture is increasingly thought to be transforming to a
global agricultural/food industry structure which is unlike the dispersed family farm system of the
past. The anticipated changes in development and ownership oftechnology, increases in governmental
regulation, more open world markets and increased trade, increased financial risks, increased
contracting and specialized market access all suggest that commercial farms will be larger and fewer
in number. But, this transformation is viewed as much more than just increasing farm size. It is likely
that agricultural production increasingly will be controlled by global firms that also control production
and other food marketing functions throughout the world. These firms will be able to deliver food
products from around the world to consumers anywhere in the world. In the global food industry,
production agriculture will just be another function within a large international company that very
likely controls all of the production/marketing functions from deciding what to produce all the way
to the consumer. While transformation to this worldwide structure is not certain, at least parts of this
scenario are likely to characterize the food industry of the 21st century.
The future of Florida agriculture will be heavily influenced by the drivers of change discussed
in this paper. Other forces of change may also be important. To survive and thrive, Florida agriculture
will need to compete in markets which are increasingly global and be compatible with the needs of
a rapidly urbanizing state. There are uncertainties and challenges ahead, but there will be
opportunities as well for Florida agriculture in the new millennium.
WATER RESOURCES (QUANTITY AND QUALITY)
Florida is blessed with copious rainfall and productive, high-yield aquifers.
Currently available water exceeds needs when considered state-wide. However, water
shortages occur in some coastal cities and counties due to excess consumption at a local
level. Florida's water balance consists of average daily inflows of 26,000 MGD (million
gallons per day)as surface water and 150,000 MGD as rainfall (176,000 MGD total) with
average daily outflows of 66,270 MGD as surface- and groundwater, 107,000 MGD as
evapotranspiration and 2,730 MGD as consumptive use.
Groundwater is the source of drinking water for 90% of Florida residents. Total
freshwater use in Florida in 1995 was estimated to be 7,215 MGD which represents a 28%
increase since 1970. Public water supply (2,065 MGD) and agricultural irrigation (3,244
MGD) represent the largest individual uses of freshwater in Florida. Public water supply
use has increased 134% since 1970; agricultural irrigation use has increased 54% during
that same period. Other use categories include domestic self-supplied water (297 MGD),
commercial/industrial uses (692 MGD), recreational irrigation (280 MGD), and power
generation (637 MGD).
Florida's unique hydrogeologic features of a thin soil layer, high water
table, porous limestone and larger quantities of rainfall coupled with rapid population
growth, result in a groundwater resource extremely vulnerable to contamination.
* Water supply demands in some coastal and interior counties exceed local water
resource availability due to population growth.
* Nutrients and toxic organic from agriculture, municipal wastewater, industry,
septic systems and other point and non-point sources are impacting the quality of
surface- and groundwater as well as estuaries and coastal waters.
* Growth in population and tourist industries generates wastes and wastewater in
quantities that adversely impact surface- and groundwater quality, and estuaries.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
* Population growth (greater demand for drinking water & increased wastewater
* Legislation affecting regional transfers of water (intra-district or inter-regional
transfers due to local demand exceeding local supply)
* Mandated development and implement of minimum flows and levels to maintain
riverine base flow, water quality, and habitats
* Mandated water-use efficiency and reuse in urban and agricultural sectors
WATER RESOURCES (Quantity and Quality)
Arthur Hornsby, Soil and Water Science Department, Chair
Calvin Arnold, Indian River Research and Education Center, Co-Chair
Richard Aalberg, Manatee County Extension Director
Mark Brenner, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Department
John Capece, Southwest Florida Research and Extension Center
Roy Carriker, Food and Resource Economics Department
Lamar Christenberry, Escambia County Extension Director
Wendy D. Graham, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department.
William T. Haller, Agronomy Department.
Frank J. Mazzotti, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Extension Center
Larry R Parsons, Citrus Research and Extension Center
William Seaman, Jr., Sea Grant Program
SITUATION STATEMENT (Current Status)
A. Water Quantity
State-Wide Water Balance
Florida's water balance consists of average daily inflows of 26,000 MGD (million gallons
per day)as surface water and 150,000 MGD as rainfall (176,000 MGD total) with average
daily outflows of 66,270 MGD as surface- and groundwater, 107,000 MGD as evapo-
transpiration and 2,730 MGD as consumptive use.
Water Use in Florida
Groundwater is the source of drinking water for 95% of Florida residents. Total
freshwater use in Florida in 1995 has been estimated by USGS to be 7,215 MGD (Table
1) which represents a 28% increase since 1970. Public water supply (2,065 MGD) and
agricultural irrigation (3,244 MGD) represent the largest individual uses of freshwater in
Florida. Public water supply use has increased 134% since 1970; agricultural irrigation use
has increased 54% during that same period. Other use categories include domestic self-
supplied water (297 MGD), commercial/industrial uses (692 MGD), recreational irrigation
(280 MGD), and power generation (637 MGD). All use categories except public water
supply are less in 1995 than in 1990. A similar pattern has been suggested nationwide by
Florida Surface Water Resources
Florida has more than 7700 warm-temperate and subtropical water bodies with surface
area of 0.99 acres (0.4 ha) to over 444,600 acres (180,000 ha), making it the most lake-
rich southern state. Florida also has thousands of small permanent ponds and ephemeral
water bodies. Florida's lakes cover 3,578 sq. mi.(9270 km2) or about 6% of the
landscape. Swamps and marshes occupy another 10% of the state. Many of the lakes are
small; a few are large. Lake Okeechobee with an area of 683 sq. mi.(1770 km2), and a
maximum depth of 16.5 ft (5 m) is the largest. Florida lakes are typically shallow (less
than 16.5 ft (5 m), and very few are greater than 66 ft (20 m) deep. Most Florida lakes
occupy solution basins that filled with water 6000-8000 years ago, when sea level rose and
wetter climate prevailed, following an arid late Glacial episode. Lakes are distributed
unevenly throughout the state with more than 50% in the central, sandy ridge.
For example, Lake County is a very wet county with 32% of its area covered by lakes
and wetlands. Several counties have fewer than 10 lakes. Florida possesses both drainage
and seepage lakes. Some 70% of the water bodies lack surface outflows, with all output
water lost to evapotranspiration and ground-water recharge.
Florida's lakes are diverse with respect to physical, chemical and biological
characteristics. Lake waters display a broad range ofpH, dissolved color, ions, nutrient
(N and P) and chlorophyll a concentrations, and primary productivity. Phosphorus
concentrations from a set of sampled lakes suggest about one-third of the water bodies are
oligotrophic to mesotrophic (poorly or moderately nourished). Remaining lakes are
eutrophic to hyper-eutrophic (highly nourished). Trophic status in many of these nutrient-
rich lakes is a consequence of anthropogenic influences as well as natural, geologic and
Florida has more than 1700 rivers of all sizes. Most rivers have headwaters in the
state, but some originate in Alabama and Georgia. The largest rivers discharge along the
coasts, and 21 of 23 major rivers lie on the Gulf Coast. There are more than 300 artesian
springs in the state. Florida has 27 first magnitude springs (more than 100 ft3/sec), about
one-third of all such springs in the US. Spring discharge amounts to about 30.3 MGD.
South Florida has some large artificial canals most which drain to the Atlantic. Florida's
flowing waters have been assigned to five major types: sand-bottom, calcareous, swamp
and bog, large rivers and canals. Sand-bottom systems are most common; calcareous
waters originate primarily in springs. Some large rivers, such as the Escambia and
Apalachicola cross state lines, while the northward-flowing St. Johns lies wholly within
Florida. Swamp and bog systems have colored, acidic waters, and canals often are more
like standing waters.
Florida's lakes and rivers are used for drinking and irrigation water, recreation
(swimming, boating, skiing, and fishing), and power-plant cooling. Surface waters also
recharge groundwater, provide freeze protection for riparian crops, and serve as wildlife
habitat. Lakes and wetlands produced the muck that is farmed in some parts of the state.
Highly valued waterfront property generates substantial tax revenues in many counties.
Because of Florida's subtropical climate, the state is prone to invasions from
exotic, warm-water biota. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and Hydrilla (Hydrilla
verticillata) are two exotic, aquatic plant species that receive much attention. Chemical,
biological and mechanical methods are used to control undesirable aquatic vegetation.
More than 50 species of exotic fish have been collected in Florida waters, and more than
20 taxa have established breeding populations, mostly in South Florida. Invertebrates,
such as the Asian clam (Corbicula manilensis) are now in lakes and rivers throughout
Florida. In some cases, introduced flora and fauna threaten to displace native species.
Freshwater resources are exploited by multiple user groups in Florida. Water
resources must be managed at the watershed level. In some cases, this will involve
interstate collaboration. The ecology and water quality of the state's aquatic ecosystems
must be balanced with the need for recreation and economic development. Management
plans require a sound understanding oflimnological characteristics (physical, chemical,
biological) and processes in freshwater systems. Evaluation of management procedures
will necessitate a statewide monitoring program.
Florida Groundwater Resources
Florida has abundant groundwater resources. Large quantities of potable water
are obtainable from each of the principal aquifers ( Biscayne, Sand and gravel, Surficial
and intermediate (undifferentiated) and the Floridan). The Biscayne aquifer underlies all
of Dade and Broward counties and part of Palm Beach and Monroe counties. It is
recharged locally. The sand and gravel aquifer is the major source of drinking water in the
western part of the panhandle (Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties). This aquifer has the
lowest hardness (as calcium carbonate) of all Florida aquifers. It is recharged locally.
Surficial aquifers are present in much of east coastal and south-central Florida.
These aquifers are little used where more plentiful supplies are available from deeper
aquifers that contain potable water. They are used most intensively southwest of Lake
Okeechobee and in scattered towns along the east coast. In southern Florida and along
the eastern part of the peninsula, one or more aquifers are present between the surficial
aquifer and the underlying Floridan aquifer system; these aquifers are referred to as
"intermediate aquifers". These are important sources of public supply and irrigation in
coastal southwestern Florida from Sarasota to Lee counties where the underlying Floridan
is not potable. The Floridan aquifer underlies the entire state and is one of the most
productive aquifers in the United States. It extends north into southern Georgia, and
adjoining parts of Alabama and South Carolina. The Floridan aquifer is the lower-most
part of the groundwater reservoir in Florida, being as much as 3500 feet thick in some
areas. In the western panhandle this aquifer dips down below the sand and gravel aquifer
and is not potable due to high salinity. It also underlies the Biscayne aquifer. In central
and north Florida the Floridan is the principal source of high-quality drinking water. In
some areas it is overlain with thick, confining layers of clay. In some of the confined areas
the aquifer is artesian.
Because of its abundance and availability, groundwater is the principal source of
freshwater for public-supply, rural and industrial uses and is the source of about half of the
water used in irrigation. The aquifer systems of Florida are truly the lifeblood of
sustainable economic endeavors in the state, but the quantity is finite.
Coastal and Estuarine Waters
Peninsular Florida extends over 6 degrees of latitude giving rise to a diversity of
estuary types in Florida. They range from barrier-beach lagoons to cuspate riverine
systems, and from subtropical, mangrove-sea grass estuaries to Carolina-temperate, salt-
marsh systems. Most of Florida's estuaries are lagoonal or cuspate-lagoonal systems.
Groundwater provides important hydrological contributions to most of Florida's
Florida's estuaries tend to be small to moderate in size while watersheds upon
which they depend tend to be relatively large. As a result, land-use practices and
hydrological manipulations within the watersheds (i.e., over large areas, often far from the
coast) can have substantial impacts on the estuaries.
Historically, estuaries in Florida were associated with several principal economic
activities as transportation routes, fisheries ( particularly shrimp and mollusks), and
military training bases. With the population growth, however, a more diversified coastal
economy has developed. Eighty-five percent of sport and commercially harvested and
finfish species in Florida depend on estuaries (where freshwater from the land meets
saltwater from the sea). Sixteen of Florida's 21 metropolitan areas are built around an
estuary or lie at the mouth of a river where it flows into the sea. Hydrology links the land,
the watershed, coastal system and the estuary.
B. Water Quality
Florida Surface-Water Quality
Overall, the majority of Florida's surface waters are of good quality, but problems
exist around densely populated urban areas, primarily in central and south Florida. In
rivers, nutrient enrichment, low dissolved-oxygen content, organic matter content,
siltation, and habitat alteration degrade water quality. In lakes, the leading problems
result from metals and other toxic, ammonia, and nutrients.
Agricultural, industrial and urban areas are sources of water-quality degradation in
southern Florida. Agricultural production involves numerous chemicals, including
fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, that can leach into the groundwater or
nearby surface waters. The phosphate industry, located in the northwestern part of the
study unit, is a potential source of contaminants, including organic chemicals, acids,
nutrients, and sediment. In residential and urban areas, septic-tank drainfields are a source
of nutrients and potential bacterial contamination. Stormwater runoff from urban areas
commonly carries heavy metals, nutrients, bacteria, viruses, and pesticides. Urban runoff
and discharge of inadequately treated, nutrient-rich sewage effluent into canals have
resulted in some canal waters becoming covered with algae and choked with aquatic
weeds. Groundwater in the highly urbanized Atlantic Coastal Ridge of Florida is highly
vulnerable to contamination from surface sources because the highly permeable Biscayne
aquifer allows rapid infiltration of surface waters.
The Everglades Agriculture Area (EAA) issue focuses on agriculture and the
impact of agriculture on the restoration of the Everglades, improvement of the Everglades
National Park, and Florida Bay. The Indian River Lagoon and Lake Worth Lagoon
concerns focus on the urban area and the detrimental contributions coming from it, with
agricultural influence secondary.
Water quality has been the subject of concern and attention in the Suwannee River
Basin for a number of years. Recent data indicate increasing concentration of nutrients in
ground water, spring water, and private drinking water wells. This has brought a needed
focus to efforts to find nutrient management solutions to the problem. In addition, the
state's participation in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program will require new
initiatives for managing non-point sources (e.g., for nutrients) for agriculture, and for
measuring the use and effectiveness of non-point source controls. As a result, public
agencies and the agricultural community must take the lead in implementing a watershed-
based process for BMP development, demonstration, refinement, and implementation to
reduce nutrient loadings to ground water and surface water, involving stakeholders
throughout the basin.
Florida Groundwater Quality
Data from over 1,900 wells in Florida's ambient monitoring network indicate
generally good water quality, but local groundwater contamination problems exist.
Agricultural chemicals, including aldicarb, alachlor, bromacil, simazine, and ethylene
dibromide (EDB) have caused local and regional (in the case of EDB) problems. Other
threats include petroleum products from leaking underground storage tanks, nitrates from
dairy and other livestock operations, fertilizers and pesticides in stormwater runoff, and
toxic chemicals in leachate from hazardous waste sites. The state requires periodic testing
of all community water systems for 118 toxic organic chemicals.
Potential sources of groundwater contamination are numerous in Florida. Some of
these sources include 6,000 surface impoundments for waste disposal, 9,600 drainage
wells, 60,000 underground gasoline storage tanks, 800 municipal landfills, more than 400
potential hazardous -waste sites and the 60,000-per-year increase in septic tanks.
Regionally, the inorganic quality of water from the principal aquifers used for
public water supply do not exceed state primary drinking-water standards. In many parts
of the state, however, groundwater supplies exceed secondary drinking water standards.
Data on organic quality of water from the state's principal aquifers are limited;
nevertheless, occasional incidences of organic contaminants that may affect human health
and welfare are a reality. In the Northwest Florida Water Management District the most
prevalent organic contaminants are dry-cleaning solvents and leaking underground
gasoline storage tanks. Santa Rosa, Escambia and Holmes counties in the Florida
panhandle get their water from the sand and gravel aquifer. This is the sole source for
Escambia County. Wells furnishing water for the county population are from two to five
hundred feet deep. Ten major wells owned by the Escambia County Utility Authority
(ECUA) are contaminated. A dry-cleaning solvent (PCE) is the biggest contaminant.
Benzene, which indicates petroleum contamination, has also been identified in multiple
wells. It is important to point out that rainfall within the boundaries of the county
accounts for nearly all the available groundwater. Because of groundwater recharge
characteristics, any disposal of waste products or misuse of toxic chemicals on the land
surface, whether accidental or on purpose, has a high probability for adversely impacting
The Biscayne aquifer has been designated by the USEPA as a "sole source"
drinking-water supply. The Biscayne aquifer is managed closely to control saltwater
intrusion. Water in the aquifer is primarily a calcium bicarbonate type that does not exceed
standards for most uses. However, it is subject to contamination by organic solvents used
in industry, pesticides and nutrients used in agricultural and urban settings, and leaking
fuel storage facilities. Iron concentration in untreated groundwater is commonly larger
than the secondary standard of 300 jug/L. Iron is commonly associated with the large
natural organic content of the region's groundwater resource. This large natural organic
content has contributed to the formation oftrihalomethanes during chlorination of public
The major inorganic constituent of the surficial aquifers is calcium carbonate.
Concentrations of dissolved solids are generally less than 1200 mg/L. In the intermediate
aquifers the inorganic chemical composition is generally mixed calcium magnesium
carbonate. Water in these aquifers is hard to very hard. Nitrate, fluoride and iron
concentrations generally do not exceed drinking-water standards, but sodium, chloride and
dissolved solids commonly do. Saltwater intrusion and upward movement of saline water
from deeper aquifers commonly result in unsuitable water quality for most uses.
The major inorganic constituent in the Floridan aquifer is calcium carbonate with
concentration of dissolved solids less than 500 mg/L. Although the water tends to be
hard, it generally does not exceed drinking-water standards for nitrate, fluoride, sodium
and chloride. Iron may exceed the standard in about 10% of water-quality analyses.
In predominantly agricultural regions of Florida the frequency of drinking water
wells contaminated by nitrates exceeds the national frequency ( 2.4 %) found in the EPA
survey. Of 3949 drinking water wells analyzed for nitrate by the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services, (FDACS) and the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection (FDEP), 2483 (63%) contained detectable nitrate and 584 wells
(15%) contained nitrate above the EPA MCL. Of the 584 wells statewide that exceeded
the MCL, 519 were located in the Central Florida Ridge citrus growing region,
encompassed primarily by Lake, Polk and Highland Counties.
Effect of Land Use on Water Quality
Florida's unique hydrogeologic features of a thin soil layer, high water table,
porous limestone and larger quantities of rainfall coupled with rapid population growth,
result in a groundwater resource extremely vulnerable to contamination. There are tens of
thousands of potential point sources such as surface-water impoundments, drainage wells,
underground storage tanks, flowing saline water wells, hazardous wastes sites, power
plants, landfills and cattle and dairy feedlots. Similarly there are numerous septic tanks
and urban and industrial areas that may discharge water with undesirable quality. Non-
point sources that have vast potential for groundwater contamination include coastal
saltwater bodies, agricultural and horticultural practices, and mining.
Wetlands (1.7 million acres (4.4 Mha)) provide buffers between anthropogenic
activities and water quality of lakes, streams, and groundwater. Recognition of the
function of wetlands is essential for sustainable development in Florida.
Coastal and Estuarine Waters
By comparison with estuaries and coastal waters in other states, Florida's water
and sediment quantities are quite good. Many states' estuaries are classified as Class III
(supporting healthy fish and wildlife populations) and several are Class II waters (safe for
consumable shellfish production). Although efforts to protect Florida's estuaries from
contamination over the past 15-20 years have been conscientious, both point and non-
point sources of contamination affect our estuaries. Most estuaries in the state are now
experiencing some degree of anthropogenic stress. Point-source control of eutrophication
and contamination has met with considerable success. Non-point sources of
contamination, including agricultural and urban runoff, septic-system failures, and
dredging are recognized as the principal source contaminants in Florida's estuaries.
In six of 10 estuaries studied septic-system failure coupled with soil and
hydrological characteristics were cited as significant contributors to estuarine water-
quality deterioration. Modification of estuarine hydrology and annual salinity cycles has
already caused significant degradation of estuarine habitats.
In estuaries, nutrient enrichment, habitat alteration, and siltation degrade quality.
Urban stormwater, agricultural runoff, domestic wastewater, industrial wastewater, and
hydrological modification are the major sources of water pollution in Florida.
A. Water Quantity
Freshwater inflows (rainfall and surface and groundwater) to Florida remain fairly
constant when averaged over 10-20 years but increased water use in Georgia and Alabama
could diminish the surface and groundwater inflows. Water allocation negotiations for the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Rivers are currently be conducted between the states
of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Water intake from the upstream region of the rivers
dictates the fresh water inflow into the Apalachicola Bay, and consequently affects the
salinity in the Bay. Change of salinity has a profound influence on the ecological system
in the near coastal region.
The greatest water challenge facing Florida is finding acceptable sources of water
supply and developing implementation strategies to meet projected demands. Most
Water Management Districts within the state have identified areas within which
identified sources of water are projected to be inadequate to meet projected demands
through 2020. As part of the water supply planning process, the Water Management
Districts must identify acceptable sources and strategies for developing the needed
additional quantities of water. Implementation of projects necessary to actually develop
the additional water supplies must be carefully thought out because the cumulative
impacts of these projects must not cause unacceptable impacts and the costs must be
Public water-supply demands are increasing at a faster rate in coastal counties than
in interior counties due to population growth there. Projected population growth (2000-
2010) in Dade (221,500 persons), Palm Beach (203,200 persons), Broward (194,700
persons), Orange (175,200 persons) and Hillsborough (120,500) will be directly
competing with the agricultural sector for water. These are major agricultural production
areas, especially for winter vegetables.
Reclaimed water use will increase for agriculture, golf courses, some urban
developments, and industry. Major factors will be funding of treatment plants, cost of
piping the reclaimed water to the users, and public acceptance. Some water management
districts are funding certain projects to encourage reclaimed water use.
Desalinization or reverse osmosis will be used in the Tampa Bay area and other
coastal cities. A new desalinization plant is presently being planned for Tampa Bay.
Desalination will still be a supplement for groundwater use, but this method will get a fair
amount of attention because it is still relatively new in Florida.
Growers will probably be mandated to carefully manage their irrigation practices.
Conservation and water restrictions will continue. Consumptive use permits will not
provide sufficient water for agriculture in moderate to severe drought years.
There is concern with the continued growth of the population in South Florida
that the quantity of water will not be sufficient, at least without increased costs to the
taxpayers. Conservation has taken a back seat at present in the public's mind since there
has been adequate recent rainfall to prevent drought. Along with water utilities, the
SFWMD continues to plan for meeting increased needs here. Efforts should continue to
stress conservation and promote new technologies to insure more efficient use of water
B. Water Quality
* Nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in 20 % of samples taken by USGS (1992-1996)
exceed 10 mg/L in the Suwannee River Basin study area.
* Increase in nitrate-nitrogen concentration in aquifers underlying intensively farmed
areas and areas with heavy loading of animal manures.
Surface Water Quality
* Increase in turbidity -Steinhatchee River near Cross City
* Increase in dissolved sulfate- Main canal at Vero Beach
* Increase in dissolved solids-Steinhatchee River near Cross City
* Increase in dissolved nitrite plus nitrate & dissolved ammonia- Escambia River
near Century & Caloosahatchee Canal at Ortona lock near La Belle
* Increase in dissolved phosphorous -Caloosahatchee Canal at Ortona lock near La
Coastal and Estuarine Waters
During the coming decades, anthropogenic stress on estuaries will increase. In
some cases pressure will be applied within the estuary itself. More often, however, stress
will be applied from upland sources within the watershed. Continued unconsidered
hydrological modifications may be the most significant threat to the integrity and
functionality of Florida's estuaries in the coming decades.
A number of local policy makers, agencies and individuals see the impact of
activities occurring on land seriously impacting water quality as it moves into the estuary.
A plan to improve significantly the Lake Worth Lagoon in Palm Beach County has been
designed. Resources are being sought to implement the plan. Florida Yards and
Neighborhoods (FYN) is a valuable voluntary program that can help individuals make a
positive difference in the lagoon. Other areas where water quality issues are highly visible
are Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the Indian River Lagoon.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
A. Water Quantity
* Population growth (greater demand for drinking water).
* Legislation affecting water redistribution (intra-district or inter-regional transfers
due to local demand exceeding local supply).
* Mandated development and implement of minimum flows and levels to maintain
riverine base flow.
* Mandated water-use efficiency in urban and agricultural sectors.
* Advances in weather forecasting (reduced water use for freeze protection; reduced
water use resulting from draw down to avoid flooding of crops)
* Technological advances in desalination processes (alternate source of drinking
B. Water Quality
* Population growth (increased waste generation)
* Enforcement of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs)
* Florida Stormwater Rule
* Mandated development and implement minimum flows and levels to maintain
riverine base flow to maintain in-stream water quality, fish and wildlife habitats,
and estuarine integrity.
* Required use of Best Management Practices and precision application of nutrients,
pesticides, and irrigation water.
Table 1. Trends in Freshwater Withdrawals by Use Category in Millions of Gallons Per Day (MGD), 1970 1995.
Use Category 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 Percent
TOTAL 5,612 6,491 6,701 6,313 7,583 7,215 +28
Public Supply 883 1,124 1,406 1,685 1,925 2,065 +134
Domestic Supply 209 228 243 259 299 297 +42
Commercial & Industrial 900 883 700 709 770 692 -23
Agricultural Irrigation 2,100 2,930 3,026 2,798 3,495 3,244 +54
Recreational Irrigation NA NA NA 182 310 280 +54
Power Generation. 1,520 1,326 1,326 680 784 637 -58
Source: 1997 Florida Statistical Abstract, Table 8.40, P.265
Florida Sea Grant. 1996. Part 1. A synopsis of Florida's Estuarine Resources with Recommendations for their Conservation and
Management. TP-85. Florida Sea Grant Program
US Geological Survey. National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), Southern Florida Study Unit.
US Geological Survey. National Water Summary, 1990-91 Stream Water Quality Florida for the period 1980-1989.
US Geological Survey. National Water Summary, 1998- Florida Ground Water Quality
US Geological Survey. Water Quality in the Coastal Plain, Georgia and Florida, 1992-96. Circular 1151.South Florida Water
Management District. 1994. Strategic plan for the 1990's.
-- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY --
R.B. Brown, J.E. Reynolds, L.A. Halsey, T.A. Obreza, K.R. Reddy, and G.H. Snyder
Florida's landscape varies widely. Lakes and wetlands are prominent features that largely
have resulted from the karstt" topography that typifies a landscape underlain by limestone.
Some of Florida's streams are directly connected with the Floridan Aquifer and/or with a
surficial aquifer, and are fed by springs. Florida possesses a wide variety of soils, ranging
from the reddish, loamy (medium-textured) to clayey soils of the upper Florida Panhandle;
to the deep, drought sands on the Ridge; to the poorly drained, sandy soils of the
flatwoods; the organic soils of the northern Everglades; and the shallow, limerock-
influenced soils of extreme South Florida. Florida's land cover is 8% cropland, 30%
pasture and range, 35% forest, and 27% "other" (i.e., transportation, parks, refuges,
marshes, defense, industry, urban uses, golf courses, and mining areas).
To date there have been no significant net decreases in cropland and forest land, while
pasture and rangeland have declined. In much of Florida, water is at least as limiting as is
the availability of land in determining whether or not an agricultural enterprise is viable.
Rapid population growth is expected to continue, and the intensity of land uses, coupled
with market forces, likely will force a continued net decline in the acreage of extensive
agricultural uses such as pasture and range, while cropland, displaced by urbanization,
shifts into more inland areas. Continued urban growth, with attendant upward pressure on
land prices and competition for water, will force classical Florida agriculture to be
replaced by urban land, by specialty fruit and vegetable operations, and by ornamentals.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
The growth of urban boundaries into rural areas is fostered not just by population influx,
but also by the tendency for people to want to live in the "country." Availability of high
quality water will be another determinant of land use in Florida. Urban and agricultural
water users must be increasingly efficient in their use of water. Demand for high quality
water will cause continued regulatory pressure on agriculture. Also controlling agricul-
tural land use will be continuing subsidence of the organic soils in the Everglades Agricul-
tural Area (EAA). Yet another determinant of change will be foreign trade policy. Some
crops may become specialty crops, grown intensively on small acreages with a marketing
strategy such as "Florida Grown" or "Organically Grown." Some crops will succeed by
being grown and marketed for "ethnic" populations. Urban growth, pressures on
agricultural land, public land purchase programs, regulatory programs, foreign competi-
tion, growth in Florida's service economy, and demand for ornamental products will lead
to an increase in the relative importance of ornamental, landscaping, nursery, and turfgrass
industries in the state. While the total acreage of agricultural land may decrease eventu-
ally, as may the total use of water by the agricultural sector, the value of agricultural land
and agricultural products is likely to increase. Meanwhile, public agencies are under
increasing pressure to manage public lands for water quality, recharge potential, water
supply, ecosystem restoration, and recreation.
R.B. Brown, J.E. Reynolds, L.A. Halsey, T.A. Obreza, K.R. Reddy, and G.H. Snyder
Randy Brown, Soil and Water Science Department, Committee Chair
Larry Halsey, Jefferson County Extension Director
Tom Obreza, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
Ramesh Reddy, Soil and Water Science Department
John Reynolds, Food and Resource Economics Department, Committee Co-Chair
George Snyder, Everglades Research and Education Center
SITUATION STATEMENT (CURRENT STATUS)
Florida's landscape is complex and varies widely from region to region depending on the
presence or absence -- and combinations of-- limerock, clayey sediments, and surficial
sands. In some places, thick deposits of sand overlie thick deposits of relatively clayey
material, which in turn overlie thick strata of porous limestone. Variations in this pattern
contribute to the complexity of the landscape that we see today. For example, the
Floridan Aquifer, which supplies enormous quantities of water for withdrawal by commu-
nities and individuals, comprises porous limestones overlain and confined by clayey and
other materials less porous than the Aquifer itself. Drawdown of the Aquifer for munici-
pal and other uses is resulting in salt water intrusion in some coastal areas.
Portions of these same landscapes are prone to "collapse" types of sinkholes, which form
when clayey bridges suddenly collapse into underlying limestone cavities and form large
holes in the landscape that receive much publicity if they occur in populated areas.
Some regions lack the vertical sequence of rock and sediments described in the previous
paragraph. Important examples occur in Levy and surrounding counties, and in the
northern part of Jackson County. In these areas, clayey and sandy sediments only thinly
blanket a shallow limerock. Two important attributes of these types of landscapes result:
First, "collapse" types of sinkholes are highly unlikely, and "solution" sinkholes involving
relatively small-diameter vertical pipes in the limerock are more the rule. Second, these
regions that are shallow to limerock tend to have high potential for recharge to the
Floridan Aquifer, inasmuch as the Aquifer is unconfined or poorly confined by clayey
materials in these areas.
Throughout much of the state, lakes and wetlands are prominent features that have
resulted in large measure from the pocked, karstt" topography that typifies a landscape
underlain by limestone. Some of Florida's streams, such as the Suwannee River, are
directly connected with the Floridan Aquifer and/or with a surficial aquifer, and are fed by
springs. Some streams never reach the ocean, inasmuch as they empty into sinks or wet
prairies that are connected with the Floridan Aquifer. Thus, it is difficult and in many
cases impossible to separate the influence of human activities on groundwater from their
influence on surface waters.
Many of Florida's natural drainageways have been widened and deepened to improve the
surface drainage of the surrounding area. Much of the surface drainage is entirely artificial
(canals) as opposed to natural (streams).
Other geologic, physiographic, and geomorphic phenomena have contributed further to
the complexity of Florida's landscapes. For example, ancient shorelines and terraces
formed by the rise and fall of sea level -- interrupted by periods of relative stability -- have
given rise to the different elevational groupings of Florida's landscape, from Pamlico and
Silver Bluff terraces occurring between 0 and 25 feet above sea level; to the Penholoway
and Talbot terraces between 25 and 70 feet; to the Sunderland (Okefenokee) and Wicomi-
co terraces between 70 and 170 feet; and the Coharie and Hazelhurst terraces occurring
between 170 and 320 feet above sea level.
Certain geologic deposits, most classically the Bone Valley Formation in Central Florida,
are rich in phosphorus and are important surface mining areas. Other products mined in
various locales in Florida include crushed stone, agricultural lime, Fullers-earth, kaolinite,
and heavy minerals.
A final example of the profound influence of geology on Florida's landscape occurs in the
extreme southern part of the state, including the Everglades, the South Dade Agricultural
Area, and the Keys. This part of Florida consists of a platform of largely porous, quite
recent (in geologic terms) carbonate (limestone) rock covered with thin layers of organic
and calcareous (high lime) soils.
Florida possesses a wide variety of soils, ranging from the reddish, loamy (medium-
textured) to clayey soils of the upper Florida Panhandle; to the deep, drought sands that
occur in an east-west band across the central part of the Panhandle and along the Central
Florida Ridge; to the poorly drained, sandy soils of the flatwoods; the organic soils of the
northern Everglades; and the shallow, limerock-influenced soils of extreme South Florida.
Seven of the twelve soil orders in the U.S. system of soil classification are found in
Florida. This variety of soils results from variations in types, layering, and ages of
geologic strata and soil parent materials; landscape position; natural drainage conditions in
the soils; and many other factors. Throughout most of the state, soils tend naturally to be
acid. In extreme South Florida, however, the soils are calcareous and neutral to moder-
Soils have been mapped at scales ranging from 1:15,840 (4 inches = 1 mile) to 1:24,000
(2.6 inches = 1 mile) for practically all of Florida (the major exception being Everglades
National Park), and have been -- or are in the process of being -- digitized at 1:24,000 for
inclusion in geographic information systems (GISs) by Florida's Water Management
Districts and other agencies. A huge data base on the physical and chemical characteris-
tics of Florida's soils, and an archive of soil samples collected in most -- but not all -- of
Florida's counties over the course of the soil survey program, are maintained in the
UF/IFAS Soil and Water Science Department. Principal agencies in carrying out the
Florida Soil Survey have been the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the
UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the Florida Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services, and the U.S. Forest Service, with major funding having come
from the Florida Legislature via the Accelerated Soil Survey Program.
The Florida Accelerated Soil Survey, which ended in the early 1990s, was the major factor
in bringing the inventory of Florida's soils to its present point. It needs to be pointed out,
however, that the untimely cessation of Accelerated Soil Survey funding (1) slowed the
completion of the soil survey in Florida, and (2) prevented the completion of the charac-
terization data base and sample archive that UF/IFAS maintains (for example, some
counties have had little or no soil sampling and lab analysis, and thus are not represented
in the UF/IFAS characterization data base and sample archive). Nevertheless, the data
base and archive continue to be enormously valuable and useful in studies on the nature
and distribution of Florida's soils for a variety of purposes, such as understanding the fate
and transport of chemicals in the range of Florida's soils, to exploring the variability of
Florida's soils and landscapes, and to learning the distribution of certain toxic materials
across the state.
It is important to note that soil information collected and reported at the scale of 1:24,000,
while highly useful for gaining an understanding of regional and local landscapes, generally
is inadequate for detailed studies of soils and for precise predictions of the behavior of
water and contaminants in soils.
Acreages and Proportions of Major Land Covers and Uses in Florida
In the 1990s, Florida's land cover is roughly as follows:
APPROXIMATE PROPORTIONS OF MAJOR LAND USES IN FLORIDA IN 1992
Land use= Percent
Forest Land= 35
Other Land= = 3
Special Land= = 24
Total = 100
Cropland is equal to total cropland less cropland pastured;
Pasture represents cropland pastured, woodland pastured, and other grassland, pasture and range;
Forest is equal to total forest land less woodland pastured;
Special uses include transportation uses, parks, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, defense and
industrial uses, and urban uses;
Other land includes cemeteries, golf courses, mining areas, marshes, swamps, and other unclassi-
Historical Shifts in Acreages of Major Land Covers and Uses in Florida
The following tabulation reveals the trends in land covers/uses from 1945 to 1992:
MAJOR LAND USES IN FLORIDA, 1945-1992 (1,000 acres)
Land Use= 1959= 1964= 1969= 1974= 1978= 1982= 1987=
Cropland= 2,105= 2,841= 2,771= 3,112= 3,197= 3,097= 2,860=
Pasture= 16,442 15,257 14,970 14,437 13,355 13,606 12,983 1
Forest Land= 12,243 11,840= 9,619 10,327 10,152 10,025 10,073 11,876
Other Land= 121= 800= 2,609= 1,095= 1,361= 1,042= 594= 954
Special Land= 3,810= 3,909= 4,649= 5,647= 6,553= 6,888= 8.148= 8,297
Cropland is equal to total cropland less cropland pastured;
Pasture represents cropland pastured, woodland pastured, and other grassland, pasture and range;
Forest is equal to total forest land less woodland pastured;
Special uses include transportation uses, parks, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, defense and industrial
uses, and urban uses;
Other land includes cemeteries, golf courses, mining areas, marshes, swamps, and other unclassified
Over the past three to four decades, cropland acreage has increased slightly, forest land
has decreased slightly, and pasture land has decreased by one third. Meanwhile, Other and
Special Lands -- dominated by urban and related uses -- have more than doubled in area.
Upward and downward swings in cropland, pasture, and forest land no doubt are influ-
enced in large part by market forces resulting from demand for crops, beef, and wood
products. Weather has been a factor as well. For example, the Florida citrus industry
originally tended to be centered on the well drained soils of Central Florida, but has moved
south due to severe freezes. Huge expanses have gone out of citrus in the central ridge
area due to a combination of freezes and urbanization, while commensurately large
expanses have been brought into citrus on poorly drained flatwood soils of Southeast and
Surely much of the urbanization that has taken place in recent decades has occurred in
formerly agricultural and forest land. But the agricultural enterprises thus displaced have
been compensated for by new plantings in areas farther from the urban fringe with less
pressure for conversion to urban and related uses. Most of these areas into which
cropland has moved have been areas of relatively low-intensity use such as pasture and
rangeland. Thus we have seen, to date, no significant net decrease in cropland, while
pasture and rangeland have declined substantially.
Yet another factor controlling land use in Florida has been -- and will continue to be -- the
availability of water. Competition for Florida's abundant but finite water supply among
agricultural, urban, and natural resource (i.e., Parks, rivers, and lakes, whose regulatory
overseers are increasingly mandated to maintain minimum flows and levels) is growing.
Consumptive use permits for agriculture -- unheard of as recently as thirty years ago -- are
pushing growers to find increasing efficiency in their water use. In much of Florida,
especially the peninsula, water is at least as limiting as is the availability of land in deter-
mining whether or not an agricultural enterprise is viable in any particular area.
Future Trends in Land Uses in Florida
Rapid population growth in Florida is expected to continue, and the intensity of land uses,
coupled with market forces, likely will force a continued net decline in the acreage of
extensive agricultural uses such as pasture and range, while cropland, displaced by
urbanization, shifts into more remote, inland areas. But the land is finite, and continued
urban growth, with attendant upward pressure on land prices, loss of agricultural infra-
structure, and intense competition for water, will force classical Florida agriculture to exit
altogether in some areas, to be replaced by housing, commercial, and industrial land uses,
by specialized, high intensity fruit and vegetable operations, and by ornamental horticul-
ture (nurseries, landscaping businesses, parks, resorts, and golf courses). This sort of
changeover has occurred already in Broward and Pinellas Counties. Other counties,
especially in coastal areas, are likely to follow this pattern.
The following is a tabulation of projected urban land conversion in the next two decades:
ESTIMATED FUTURE URBAN LAND CONVERSION IN FLORIDA
Central/South:= 645,998= 650,970
North:= 374,531= 378,164
MSA TOTAL= 1,020,529= 1,029,134
Central/South:= 39,795= 40,041
North:= 226,516= 228,420
NON-MSA TOTAL= 266,311= 268,460
FLORIDA TOTAL= 1,286,840= 1,297,594
AVE. CONVERSION/YR.= 128,684= 129.759
These projections are derived by combining historical urban land use coefficients (i.e., estimates of the
amount of land converted to urban use for each additional person added to the population) with
population growth projections for the future.
MSA = Metropolitan Statistical Area, i.e., a geographic area with a large population nucleus together with
adjacent communities which have a high degree of economic and social integration with that
nucleus. The MSA counties are the urbanizing counties, and the non-MSA counties are rural
counties. Florida has 34 counties in designated MSA areas. Over 90% of Florida's population
is located in MSA counties.
Central & South Counties are separated from North counties by the line separating Pasco, Polk, Lake, and
Volusia Counties to the south from Hernando, Sumter, Marion, Putnam, and Flagler Counties
to the north. The North consists of Regional Planning Districts 1-5, and the Central/South
includes Regional Planning Districts 6-11.
Numbers and trends such as those in the previous table take on even greater interest and
importance when the focus is on those counties where the greatest population growth is
occurring. Many of the counties that are urbanizing rapidly are also important producers
of agricultural products. The following table shows future urban land conversion and
value of agricultural products sold for high growth counties.
ESTIMATED LAND CONVERSION AND VALUE OF AGRICULTURE FOR HIGH-
Urban Land Conversion = Value of Ag.
2000-2010= 2010-2020= Products Sold
Top 5 Counties (Dade, Broward,
Palm Beach, Duval, Orange)= 358,375= 359,344= $1,513
% of Total= 28%= 28%= 29%
Top 10 Counties (Above 5 +
Hillsborough, Marion, Leon,
Hernando, Brevard)= 549,021= 552,163= $1,894
% of Total= 43%= 43%= 36%
Top 15 Counties (Above 10 +
Lee, Seminole, Clay,
Volusia, Okaloosa)= 687,412= 692,014= $2,115
% of Total = 53%= 53%= 40%
These projections indicate that five counties will account for 28% of expected urban land
conversion in the next two decades. These same five counties accounted for 29% of the
value of agricultural products sold in Florida in 1992. Similarly, fifteen counties account
for more than half of the land expected to be converted to urban uses. These same fifteen
counties accounted for two-fifths of the value of Florida's agricultural production in 1992.
Four counties (Palm Beach, Dade, Hillsborough, and Orange) are expected to absorb 20%
of the conversion of land to urban uses. These four counties produce about one-third of
Florida's agricultural products.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
Certainly population growth, with attendant demands on the land and on water resources,
will be a driving force in the future of land use patterns and trends in Florida. Most of this
population pressure comes from in-migration from other states and countries, and it tends
to concentrate in existing population centers as tabulated and discussed above. The
growth of urban boundaries into rural areas is fostered not just by population influx, but
also by the continuing tendency for people to want to live in -- or within a short drive of
-- the "country."
One thing -- perhaps the only thing -- that might reverse the extension of urban/suburban
housing and infrastructure into the countryside would be a run-up in energy costs, most
particularly the cost of gasoline. Indeed, a gasoline shortage is more likely to happen than
are major changes in local and state land use policies that might foster urban in-fill and
Water Quantity and Quality
Availability of high quality water will be another determinant of land use in Florida. Urban
and agricultural water users will be increasingly efficient in their use of increasingly scarce
and costly water. Many citizens may elect to migrate to areas having relatively abundant,
high quality water supplies, i.e., North and Northwest Florida. Others may want water
brought to them from outside their regions.
The expectation of high quality water for drinking and recreation -- manifesting itself, for
example, in total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements -- will cause continued
regulatory pressure on agriculture for proper and prudent nutrient and pesticide manage-
ment. This pressure will be difficult if not impossible for some growers to deal with, thus
furthering the conversion of agricultural land to urban uses.
Changing Lands and Soils
Also controlling agricultural land use will be continuing subsidence of the organic soils in
the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Vast areas currently devoted to sugar cane and
winter vegetables will be affected as these soils get thinner. The transition will involve far
more than a simple shift to "sand land" agriculture, inasmuch as the organic soils are
underlain dominantly by limerock. Thus, increased incentives will exist in this region to
shift to water-loving agricultural crops. A perhaps equally significant determinant of land
use in the EAA will be continued government land buy-outs for Everglades restoration
through stormwater treatment.
Reclamation of disturbed lands (particularly mined lands) will continue, as will the use of
land for application of municipal effluent and biosolids. Questions regarding the impacts
of attendant land uses/practices on environmental quality, ecosystem health, and human
health will continue to generate issues with which policy makers and land users will have
Foreign Trade, Shifting Demand, and Public Policy
Yet another determinant of change will be foreign trade policy and related phenomena.
Tomatoes, for example, are under pressure from foreign competition that shows no sign of
abating. Tomatoes and other crops may become specialty crops, grown intensively on
relatively small acreages with an intensive marketing strategy such as "Florida Grown" or
"Organically Grown." With increased in-migration, some crops will succeed by being
grown for "ethnic" populations and other highly specific markets.
Urban growth, pressures on agricultural land, a wide variety of public land purchase
programs, regulatory programs, foreign competition, continuing growth in Florida's
service economy, and demand for ornamental products will lead to an increase in the
relative importance of ornamental, landscaping, nursery, and turfgrass industries in the
state. Thus, while the total acreage of agricultural land may decrease eventually, as may
the total use of water by the agricultural sector, the value of agricultural land and agricul-
tural products is likely to increase as food and fiber production declines and ornamental
Meanwhile, public agencies will be under increasing pressure to manage public lands
properly for maintenance of water quality, recharge potential, and water supplies;
ecosystem restoration; recreation; and other purposes. Identification and implementation
of appropriate and affordable land management programs on public lands will be the
subject of continuing public debate.
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Soc. Fla. Proc. 44:90-93.
Brown, R. B., E. L. Stone, and V. W. Carlisle. 1990. Soils. p. 35-69. In R. L. Myers
and J. J. Ewel (ed.) Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press,
Caldwell, R.E., and R.W. Johnson. 1982. General Soil Map -- Florida. U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service, in cooperation with University
of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Experiment
Station, Soil Science Department, Gainesville.
Economic and Statistics System. 1945-1992. Major Land Uses. U.S. Department of
Fernald, E.A., and E.D. Purdum (ed.) Atlas of Florida. University Press of Florida,
Fernald, E.A., and E.D. Purdum (ed.) Water Resources Atlas ofFlorida. Institute of
Science and Public Affairs, Florida State University, Tallahassee.
Foussereau, X., A.G. Hornsby, and R.B. Brown. 1993. Accounting for variability within
map units when linking a pesticide fate model to soil survey. Geoderma 60:257-
Haydu, J.J., A.W. Hodges, and P.J. van Blockland. 1998. Turfgrass & citrus: Apples &
oranges. Florida Turf Digest 15(5):14-15.
Hornsby, A. G., T.B. Buttler, and R.B. Brown. 1993. Managing pesticides for crop
production and water quality protection: Practical grower guides. Agriculture,
Ecosystems and Environment 46:187-196.
McClellan, G.H., and J.L. Eades. 1997. The economic and industrial minerals of Florida.
p. 139-154. In A.F. Randazzo and D.S. Jones (ed.) The Geology ofFlorida.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Miller, J.A. 1997. Hydrogeology of Florida. p. 69-88. In A.F. Randazzo and D.S. Jones
(ed.) The Geology of Florida. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Reynolds, J.E., and B.L. Dillman. 1991. Land use change in Florida's urbanizing areas.
Staff Paper 91-9. Food and Resource Economics Department, Institute of food
and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Scott, T.M. 1997. Miocene to Holocene history of Florida. p. 57-67. In A.F. Randazzo
and D.S. Jones (ed.) The Geology of Florida. University Press of Florida,
Schmidt, W. 1997. Geomorphology and physiography of Florida. p. 1-12. In A.F.
Randazzo and D.S. Jones (ed.) The Geology ofFlorida. University Press of
Snyder, G.H., H.W. Burdine, J.R. Crockett, G.J. Gascho, D.S. Harrison, G. Kidder, J.W.
Mishoe, D.L. Myhre, F.M. Pate, and S.F. Shih. 1978. Water table management
of organic soil conservation and crop production in the Florida Everglades.
Bulletin 801. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida,
Soil Survey Staff. 1998. Keys to Soil Taxonomy. Eight Edition. USDA-Natural Re-
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Air Quality and Climate
J. W. Jones (Chair), J. Jackson (Co-Chair), L. H. Alien, Jr.,
K. J. Boote, H. Gholz, J. Van Sickle, and W. H. Smith
Air quality is increasingly important in Florida. Contaminants of air that may be critical are
odors and ammonia from dairy, poultry, feedlot and hog operations, by drift of agrochemicals,
by particulates from forest fires and by acid rain, methane, ozone, and CO2. Although the most
important sources of air pollutants are automobiles and power plants, agriculture and forestry
may degrade air quality, and these airborne substances may adversely affect agriculture,
forestry, human health, urban landscapes, and other natural resources. Florida's urban/suburban
population is increasingly unwilling to tolerate air contaminants regardless of "who was there
first". As Florida further urbanizes, potential conflicts will increase. Increasing urbanization
of Florida increases the numbers of citizens exposed to air pollutants and thereby increases
complaints and potential for lawsuits. On a global basis, the changing composition of air due
to human activities may cause global warming and other climate changes. Increases in
atmospheric CO2 concentrations of about one percent per year, mainly due to burning fossil
fuel and deforestation, are well documented. Florida agriculture and natural resources are more
vulnerable to climate change than those in other areas. Long term climate changes may
threaten many of Florida's unique ecosystems and also force agriculture to change crops,
varieties, cultural programs, harvesting techniques, marketing strategies, processing/packing
methods, and other practices. Any increase in sea level due to global warming would have
major detrimental effects on natural resources near Florida's 1100-mile coastline and on
tourism, the major source of state revenue. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels will continue
to be consumed in large quantities in automobiles and power plants. The impacts of their
byproducts on humans, agriculture, forests, aquatic and other natural systems will not diminish
and the needs for attenuation systems will not lessen. The public will become increasingly
concerned about climate change as new evidence is collected and analyzed, and they will
increasingly attempt to influence management of air, carbon, and other natural resources.
Weather drives agricultural and natural resource systems and has a tremendous impact on
resource managers (farmers, foresters, and managers of parks, reserves, and game) as well as
every other resident of Florida. Daily weather events influence all phases of agriculture and
natural resources. The major factors are freezing events, drought, excess rainfall and flooding,
cold weather, and wind. Hurricanes can also have a devastating effect on agriculture and natural
resources due to the intensity of winds, rain and flooding. Recent research has shown that a
significant amount of the annual variability in Florida's climate is associated with the El Nino-
Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. This year to year climate variability has a large
impact in Florida. For example, the El Nino event of 1997-98 was responsible for $493,000,000
losses in Florida agriculture and forestry production. One disturbing trend is the decline in
support for weather data collection by national government agencies for agricultural and natural
resource uses. This is a critical issue in Florida where weather events can have such devastating
effects. In contrast, considerable progress has been made in methodologies for predicting climate
several months ahead of time, and computer models are rapidly being developed to help decision
makers use weather data and climate forecasts. In the future, global competition will continue to
increase and require growers to have more precise weather forecasting and to use precision
practices to maintain profitability. Competitors in other countries are likely to adopt such
Situation Statement (Current Status)
Florida is blessed with some of the best air quality of any state, primarily because of coastal
influences. However, air quality is an issue of increasing importance in Florida.
Contaminants of air that may be critical are odors and ammonia, chemicals, acid rain,
methane, ozone, C02, and particulates from smoke. Although the most important sources of
air pollutants are automobiles and power plants, agriculture and forestry may also be sources
of chemicals, gases, and particulates that degrade the quality of air. In addition, these
airborne substances may adversely affect agriculture and forestry.
Effects of Air Quality on Agriculture and Forests. Ozone has been known for a number of
years to cause damage to some crops, such as tobacco and soybean. However, damage is
minor to most crops at present concentrations, and damage is crop-specific. There is some
evidence that, in the future, elevated CO2 could help protect crops from elevated ozone
levels. High ozone concentrations occur only episodically in and around urban areas in
Florida, but may well become more frequent given expected urban development in the state.
Ozone levels in urban areas periodically exceed acceptable standards causing risks to human
health and urban landscapes. Small increases in UV-B radiation is not known to cause
problems with outdoor crop plants in general, although a few sensitive cultivars have been
"Acid rain" does not appear to be a long-term problem for forests even though we know that
north central Florida receives high annual atmospheric loading of acids. However, most of
this is due to weak acids (sodium and chlorine), which are not actively involved in the
nutrient dynamics of forest ecosystems. Strong acid (nitrate and sulfate) loading to these
forests is currently very low. Dismissing "acid rain" as a current or near-term air quality
problem, ozone is the only pollutant posing likely significant impacts for forestry in Florida.
Effects of Agriculture and Forests on Air Quality. Air quality may be affected by agriculture
due to odors and ammonia from dairy, poultry, feedlot, and hog operations. Florida's
urban/suburban population is increasingly unwilling to tolerate odors regardless of "who was
there first". This problem is increasing with increased population growth. Confined animal
raising leads to health problems related to odors, dust, microorganisms, and accumulation of
toxic compounds such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and pesticides. These cause infectious
discomfort, diseases, toxin related illness, and allergies in the animals and workers.
Air quality can be compromised by drift of agrochemicals used to control pests in field and
horticultural crops, in greenhouses, and on livestock. Host plant resistance, while useful,
may periodically fail as pests develop resistance to pesticides or even the genetic means of
host plant resistance. The problem is probably greatest on horticultural crops.
Forest fires, whether wild or prescribed, produce copious amounts of coarse particulates and
carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is not likely to be noticed, given the high dispersal rate of
the molecules in the atmospheric and the ongoing increase in background concentrations.
The particulates will be an issue, both politically as well as biologically. The biological
issues are those related to human health, whether real or imagined. In addition to potential
effects on the functioning of lungs and allergic reactions, high concentrations of particulates
form smoke, which impacts visibility, thus affecting both the aesthetic environment of the
state, but also posing a realistic risk for automobile traffic on Florida's roads and highways.
Particulate loading from prescribed fires played a significant role in the debates and ultimate
defeat of a "clean air amendment" in Alachua County in 1998, a situation that is increasingly
likely in the future in other Florida counties. "Smoke management" is by far the most critical
area involving the conjunction of air quality and forestry operations for the foreseeable
Two gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect and global climate change are of
increasing importance in Florida agriculture and forests. The first is methane, which is
produced naturally by ruminant organisms and in anaerobic situations such as rice paddies,
wetlands, and urban dumpsites. There is likely to be increasing pressures to implement
measures to reduce methane emissions. The second greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2)
concentrations, which will be discussed relative to its potential contribution to global climate
change. Forests and crops absorb CO2 from the air, but it is not always clear whether they
are net sinks or sources of CO2. It may be possible to sequester C from the air in well-
established pastures and forests, and this would have a positive effect on air quality via its
connection to climate change.
Climate is one of the most talked about subjects worldwide. Climate and weather drive
agricultural and natural resource systems and have a tremendous impact on resource
managers (farmers, foresters, and managers of parks, reserves, and game) as well as every
other resident of Florida. It is useful to separate issues related to weather events, seasonal to
annual climate variations, and long term climate change.
Weather Events. Daily weather events influence all phases of agriculture and natural
resources. The major factors are freezing events, drought, excess rainfall and flooding, cold
weather, and wind. Other factors may be subtle, such as changes in pest populations due to
increases in humidity. Hurricanes can also have a devastating effect on agriculture and
natural resources due to the intensity of winds, rain and flooding. In any year, resource
managers may have to contend with one or all of these factors. As an example, the weather
factor that has the most devastating effect on Florida crops is a freezing event. Citrus,
vegetables, sugarcane, ornamentals, and other crops grown during the winter months are
periodically damaged or destroyed due to freezing temperatures. For example, the freezes in
1983 and 1985 killed about 250,000 acres of citrus in central Florida, causing major
economic losses that year and also causing major land use changes in that part of the state.
Seasonal to Annual Climate Variability. Climate varies considerably from year to year in
Florida. Recent research has shown that a significant amount of the annual variability in
Florida's climate is associated with the El Ninio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.
ENSO refers to shifts in sea surface temperatures (El Nifio in years when the surface
temperature of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean is warmer than normal, La Nifia in years
when it is cooler) and related shifts in barometric pressure gradients and wind patterns (the
Southern Oscillation) in the tropical Pacific. ENSO effects on Florida climate are
particularly strong during the winter months. During El Nifio years, winters are usually
cooler (about 2 oC on average) and wetter (about 50% more rainfall on average), whereas
during La Nina years, winters tend to be warmer (about 2 OC) and drier (by about 40% on
average). This year to year climate variability has a large impact on Florida agriculture.
Recent research has shown that annual yields of many crops in Florida varied considerably
(by factors of up to plus/minus 50 to 100% of the average yields), depending on the crop and
when and where it was produced. They showed that ENSO phase accounted for much of this
annual variability. Table 1 shows the ENSO effects on crop yields that were found to be
statistically significant in Florida.
Table 1. Significant effects of ENSO phases on yield anomalies of Florida crops (from Hansen et al., 1998).
El Nifio Years
Percent Yield Increase in
La Nifia Years
Sugarcane Previous 6.9 -1.6
Corn Previous 6.1 -16.6
Vegetables (Annual Average)
Bell Pepper Current 1.6 -10.2
Vegetables (Winter Harvest Season)
Tomato Current -1.3 -22.9
Bell Pepper Current 1.4 -23.0
Sweet Corn Current 1.2 -16.7
Snap Bean Current -0.7 -17.3
Grapefruit (all) Previous -0.7 8.8
Grapefruit (seeded) Previous 4.4 19.8
Tangerine Previous -5.6 16.2
Lime Previous 0.0 -14.2
Forestry is also highly vulnerable to climate variability. The major effect of climate
variability on forests is unwanted fires that can destroy millions of acres. Forests are
particularly at risk to hurricane damage and to fires during prolonged periods of drought.
Because of the association between ENSO activity and rainfall in the state, the risks of wild
forest fires are also highly affected by ENSO. The El Nino event of 1997-98 was particularly
devastating to Florida agriculture and forests. According to the Florida Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services, this event was responsible for $493,000,000 losses in
Florida agriculture and forestry production, with about $140,000,000 of these losses in crop
and $183,500,000 losses to livestock production.
Long-term Climate Change. Concerns about climate change arise mainly from the knowledge
that recent activities of humankind are increasing the amount of greenhouse-effect gases into
the atmosphere. Increasing the concentration of these gases (carbon dioxide, methane,
nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone in the troposphere) will slow down the rate of
radiant energy emissions from the earth's surface to space. This trapping of heat will result in
higher surface temperatures. It has been estimated that rising of carbon dioxide (C02) would
increase average global surface temperatures from 1.5 to 5C (3 to 9F). Carbon dioxide
concentration has risen from about 280 ppm at the beginning of the industrial revolution to
almost 370 ppm today, due primarily to burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Likewise
each of the other greenhouse effect gases has increased in the atmosphere. Hurricane or
tropical storm frequency or intensity may also increase. For a brief but complete overview
on this topic, see Rosenzweig and Hillel (1998).
In Florida, research has been conducted since 1980 on the effects of elevated C02, alone and
in combination with high temperatures and soil water deficits, on a number of crops,
including soybean, rice, peanut, citrus, tomato, forages (C3 rhizoma peanut and C4
bahiagrass), sugarcane, and slashpine. This research has shown that, taken alone, increasing
atmospheric CO2 will increase photosynthesis, growth, and yield of plants. When
atmospheric CO2 was doubled, for example, seed yields of soybean, rice, and peanut
increased 30-35%, yields of other crops such as bahiagrass and sugarcane increased about
10-20%, and annual growth of citrus increased about 30%.
Increasing temperature will have both direct and indirect effects on Florida's agriculture and
natural resources. Direct effects on seed yield of crops are expected to be greater than effects
on biomass growth of plants. Two major indirect effects of temperature increases could be
the increased plant demand for water under higher temperatures and the possibility of sea
level rise. Thus, decreases in rainfall associated with climate change could be more
detrimental for agricultural and natural systems than increases in temperature per se. A large
part of Florida's landscape have seasonally high water tables that are only a few feet above
sea level. Therefore, any rise in sea level due to oceanic thermal expansion or melting of
glaciers or ice caps could increase the risk of salt-water intrusion or flooding due to
hurricanes or heavier subtropical rainfall.
Florida agriculture and natural resources are more vulnerable to climate changes than those
in other areas. Long term climate changes may threaten many of Florida's unique ecosystems
and also force agriculture to change crops, varieties, cultural programs, harvesting
techniques, marketing strategies, processing/packing methods, and other practices. Any
increase in sea level due to global warming would have major detrimental effects on natural
resources near Florida's 1100-mile coastline. Any loss of these natural resources would have
major impacts on tourism, the major source of state revenue.
As Florida further urbanizes, potential conflicts will increase. Continuing consolidation of
large livestock operations creates potential odor problems because of animal wastes in the
operation, temporary storage of wastes and irrigation of effluent. Increasing urbanization of
Florida increases the numbers of citizens exposed to such odors and thereby increases
complaints and potential for lawsuits. The need for chemical or alternative methods of pest
management will continue due to Florida's favorable temperature and humidity climate.
The Kyoto Conference was a meeting designed to develop international agreements for
decreasing greenhouse-effect gas emissions. However, methane emission from agricultural
and natural lands is unlikely to decrease in the future, and may in fact increase. There will be
little net change in amount of wetlands, given the present political push for conservation.
Rice is produced on a very small acreage and is thus relatively unimportant. Livestock
numbers may continue to rise and urban dumpsites will continue to increase in number as
population increases, thereby creating potential for increases in emissions. Similarly, there
may be increases in CO2 emissions from agricultural lands from soil organic matter where
fields are in tilled row-crop production. On the other hand, more efforts for sequestering C
through forest and pasture management may be expected.
There may be a trend for increased ozone levels in Florida as industry, vehicles, and urban
impact grows, although Florida's air quality is presently good.
Weather. One of the most important trends in recent years has been the decline in support
for weather data collection by national governmental agencies for agricultural and natural
resource uses. Government resources are being reallocated from special interest groups to
more general users. This is a critical issue in Florida where weather events can have such
devastating effects. More growers are beginning to use computers to collect and process
weather data. However, the cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment makes it difficult
for individual growers to collect more sophisticated weather information. The trend points to
a final solution which will probably be a combination of field units being placed on farms
and more sophisticated weather monitoring stations set up at strategic locations throughout
Other important trends are advances in weather information management and distribution
systems, primarily through Internet, television, and satellite communication technologies.
Many of these are being provided by the private sector. These services incorporate weather
data collected by public (and private) networks with forecasts (short term and seasonal),
satellite information, radar and models to help users make better decisions.
Models and decision aids that use current weather information and short- and long-term
forecasts are being developed rapidly for use in agriculture and forestry. For example in the
citrus industry, a coordinated effort is under way to provide tailored products for growers.
The DISC (decision information system for citrus) effort currently uses weather information
from the IFAS Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) for many of its components.
As such tools become available, the need for accurate and timely weather data becomes more
crucial. Soon growers will be able to take generalized models and adapt them for specific
locations. Factors such as soil type, elevation and physical characteristics will not change.
Crop type, cultural program, soil pH, irrigation method, etc. change infrequently, but weather
changes constantly. It will become more important to have accurate and timely weather
information to fine-tune the farming operation.
Seasonal to Annual Climate Variability. During the last few years, considerable progress has
been made in methodologies for predicting climate several months to a year ahead of time.
Much of this progress has been due to increased understanding of the ENSO phenomenon
and its effects on climate in many parts of the world. Over the next few years, we expect
continued improvements in seasonal climate predictions. There is considerable potential for
farmers and other resource managers to take advantage of seasonal climate forecasts in some
crops, by adjusting management or changing crops to avoid damaging effects or to take
advantage of expected good climate conditions. Some farmers in Florida have already begun
to consider forecasts of El Niio and La Ninia events (i.e., potato farmers in Dade county
improved drainage in their fields in response to the 1997-98 El Ninio and avoided major
flooding losses that occurred in unmodified fields). In addition, scientists now can predict
hurricane activity and risks of forest fires with knowledge of ENSO activity.
Improvements in forest management are being made by taking into account these climate
predictions. For example, the frequency of forest fires has been related to ENSO activity
leading to predictions of risks of fires. Prescribed burning and restrictions on fires by
citizens can thus be made in advance to drought occurrence.
Long-term Climate Change. Within recent human history, the primary cause of climate
change appears to be the rapid increase of the greenhouse-effect gas, CO2. The earth has not
experienced CO2 concentrations as high as expected by 2100 (700 ppm), with its attendant
greenhouse effect, in more than 2 million years. The atmospheric CO2 concentration has
risen from 315 ppm in 1957 to almost 370 ppm in 1999, for an increase of 55 ppm (17%) in
just 42 years. The current trend suggests that the CO2 concentration could reach 700 ppm
before the year 2100. Global temperatures appear to be rising as well; several of the warmest
years on record have occurred since 1990. However, average annual temperatures of the
Northern Hemisphere show large year-to-year variations, so a monotonic trend is not nearly
as clear as with CO2 concentration.
Although burning of fossil fuels is the major reason for increasing CO2 concentrations and
global warming, ongoing clearing of tropical forests for pastures and crops may also
contribute to the rise of atmospheric CO2. Tree biomass and soil organic matter in forests and
permanent grasslands are large natural sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide in the terrestrial
biosphere. Cutting forests and destroying "permanent" grasslands (1) increase CO2 release to
the atmosphere and (2) diminishes the capacity of the land to remove CO2 by photosynthesis
and store carbon in trees and soil organic matter.
DETERMINANTS OF CHANGE
1. The public will continue to have concerns about odor, particulates and other air
pollutants and demand better systems of attenuation and management.
2. Public concerns with the use of pesticides will likely remain high and encourage
growers to seek reduced reliance on pesticides.
3. Fossil fuels will continue to be consumed in large quantities in automobiles and
power plants. The impacts of their byproducts on humans, agriculture, forests,
aquatic and other natural systems will not diminish and the needs for attenuation
systems will not lessen.
4. Urbanization will increase the importance of vegetative landscapes and marine
environments as vital sinks for air pollutants.
5. Increasing urbanization will magnify the conflicts at the urban/rural interface and
make such practices as forest burning, livestock production, and aerial pesticide
spraying greater challenges. Florida's urban/suburban population will be increasingly
unwilling to tolerate odors and other air contaminants regardless of "who was there
first". The political clout of agriculture will be diminished relative to what it is now.
1. Increasing populations in Florida will lead to increases in fossil fuel consumption by
automobiles and power plants. This will increase the rate of CO2 emissions into the
atmosphere thus increasing the potential impact on climate leading to the need to
attenuate greenhouse gas emissions and to sequester carbon.
2. Global competition will continue to increase and require growers to have more precise
weather forecasting and be able to use precision practices to maintain profitability.
Competitors in other countries are likely to adopt such technology.
3. Sensor technology, data acquisition systems for models, and decision tools will increase
in sophistication and increase the power of information delivery and interpretation
4. Information technology will continue to improve, become more user friendly and be
amenable to gathering, processing and transmitting weather information to a more
sophisticated set of resource managers skilled in using Internet and decision support
5. The public will become increasingly concerned about climate change as new evidence is
collected and analyzed, and they will increasingly attempt to influence management of
air, carbon, and other natural resources.
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FLORIDA'S NATURAL SYSTEMS:
Diverse and Valuable Resources
Landscape and Within System Perspectives
Unique and diverse assemblage of natural systems ranging from upland scrub to coral keys.
Many natural processes provide essential local and international linkages.
Surrounded by sea and frost, peninsular Florida has many island characteristics.
High species diversity (resident and migratory species) and endemism.
A variety of large-scale processes shape and maintain natural systems.
Many services to people.
Recreation in natural systems are important attractions of Florida.
The Everglades has global conservation significance as a World Heritage Site.
Reduction and Degradation of Natural Systems
Decreasing quantity and quality causing endangerment of systems of global significance.
Loss of key ecological processes.
Greater fragmentation into remnants too small for certain species and increased edge effects.
Aquifer recharge areas and surface flows are decreasing but water consumption rising.
Regression of most shorelines from increases in sea levels.
More federally listed species than any other state except for California and Hawaii.
Reduced native biodiversity, changes in species composition, and increases in invasives.
Increase in lethal and sub-lethal infections of fish and wildlife from pollutants.
Increased negative impacts caused by more recreationists in natural areas.
Protection and Restoration ofNatural Systems
Increased acreage in public ownership.
Increase in private property acreage in natural system protection and improvement programs.
Increases in natural systems lands protected by regulations.
Determinants of Change
Determinants that Result in Reduction and Degradation of Natural Systems
Increasing human population with reduced understanding of natural systems.
Inadequate and inconsistent growth management programs.
Uninformed buyers, users and sellers of invasive plants.
Uninformed residents about cumulative impacts of chemical use on lawns, etc.
Increasing number of people participating in nature-related recreation.
Landowners are unaware of impacts and economic incentives to be better land stewards.
Inadequate research and resources to implement sound management practices.
Determinants that Result in Protection and Restoration of Natural Systems
Increased funding, regulation, and landscape level management of systems.
Application of international and domestic research to management situations.
Improved public awareness and understanding of sustained natural systems.
Increased public awareness and regulation of non-native invasive species.
Improved understanding of sources and mechanisms of lethal and sub-lethal pollution.
Greater awareness and integration of recreational demands with natural system health.
Expanded methods and incentives for holistic land stewardship.
Public support for conservation of natural systems and technology.
Authors and Committee Members
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, (Committee Co-Chair)
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Immokalee Research and Education
Center, (Committee Co-Chair)
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Department of Agronomy
Sea Grant, Northeast Florida
Department of Agronomy/Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Jay Research and Education Center
Department of Entomology, Monticello Research and Education Center
Natural Resource Management, Leon County Extension Service
Natural systems in Florida are composed of living and non-living elements and their interdependent
interactions that occur on the Florida landscape and offshore independent of modern human culture. This
definition is not necessarily synonymous with the term "ecosystem" that has evolved to sometimes
describe all of elements and interactions that are restricted to a particular natural vegetation community
(e.g. wetland, sandhill, or scrub). This latter use of the term facilitates mapping and management efforts,
but overlooks essential processes and interactions that transcend plant community boundaries. For
example, surface water carries required nutrients to wetlands. Plant seeds are transported by the wind to
areas miles away from their place or origin. Aquatic turtles must lay their eggs in uplands. Black bears
use a variety of plant communities to satisfy their life-sustaining requirements and also transport seeds as
they travel across the landscape. And migratory birds, sea turtles, whales and other animals transfer
energy and link Florida systems to ecological systems in other countries. Therefore, a true "natural
system" is often more than what is commonly thought of as an "ecosystem" with geographic boundaries.
Landscape and Within System Perspectives
Unique and Diverse Systems: Florida's combination of geologic, edaphic, climatic and other
environmental conditions is responsible for the development of many distinct natural communities and
plant associations. Several classification schemes of these communities have been applied. Maps of
Florida's natural systems or communities have ranged from coarse (10 classifications by Davis 1967) to
fine (70 classifications by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory 1998) resolutions depending on the level of
interest in uniqueness and components of systems (i.e., scale). Regardless of the scale, relative to other
states, Florida has many diverse natural systems, from xeric scrub to coral reefs (Table 1).
Biological Diversity and Endemism: This state supports a great diversity of native plant and animal life
that includes about 3,500 species of vascular plants, 900 species of non-marine vertebrate animals, and
many thousands of species of invertebrate animals. A great variety of plants, mammals, fishes, and
invertebrates also occurs in Florida's marine systems.
Many taxa (species and subspecies) are endemic (present distributions occur entirely within the political
boundaries of Florida) or nearly endemic (ranges extend only slightly beyond Florida's borders (Table 2).
Most of this endemism occurs in the Central Lake Wales Ridge, the Everglades and Florida Keys, and the
Appalachicola River area.
Table 1. Some of Florida's more unique historical features at the community/ecosystem scale.
Natural System Feature Dimension
Coastline 1,900 km (greater than all other
states except Alaska)
Saltmarshes 180,000 ha
Longleaf pine forests More than 1/5 of the state
Freshwater Wetlands More than 1/2 of the state
Lakes 7,800 lakes
Rivers 1,700 rivers
Springs 300 springs
Table 2. Endemism in Florida's natural systems.
Endemic Nearly Endemic
Taxa Species Subspecies Species Subspecies
Vascular Plants 235 NA 40 NA
Freshwater Fish 4 3 4 0
Amphibians 1 5 3 1
Reptiles 6 31 2 4
Birds 0 7 0 2
Mammals 2 56 1 2
Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrates 410 0 0 0
Plant Communities 13 (of 70) NA
Processes that Shape and Maintain Systems: Because lightning strikes occur more often and in greater
densities in Florida than any other state, natural fire is a common process that has shaped many systems.
Many of Florida's natural systems are dependent on fire to perpetuate fire-adapted plant species, to
prevent encroachment of adjacent systems and to maintain successional stages preferred by certain
wildlife. Plants and animals in these pyric systems have evolved in response to different natural fire
frequencies, seasons, and intensities.
Coastal dunes are part of an extremely dynamic system. Hurricanes wash over dunes and move sands to
other areas. Sea oats and other plants capture blowing sand, rebuild and stabilize dunes.
Freshwater from rainfall flows from the uplands into the adjacent wetlands. This process provides
isolated wetlands, such as cypress domes and marshes, with required nutrients. Freshwater flowing
through rivers into saltwater estuaries brings nutrients to this productive system.
Linkages Among Systems: Linkages among systems are essential to maintaining natural habitat
conditions and native biological diversity. Connectivity is also key to the facilitation of gene flow
required to maintain viable populations. Systems are linked to each other in a number of ways. Water
moves in a gradient from high to low elevations. Fire is pushed across the landscape by the wind.
Wildlife traverse many habitats seasonally and daily as they disperse from their birthplaces and search for
life-sustaining requirements. Plant propagules disperse into other areas by wind, birds and other vehicles.
Because of Florida's geographical location, it serves as an important natural link between North American
and the Caribbean Islands and South America. These international linkages include hundreds of bird
species and sea turtles that rely on Florida's natural systems to satisfy nesting, wintering and migration
requirements. Airborne and ocean-carried chemicals are other examples of international connections.
Island Characteristics: Because Florida is mostly surrounded by water, dispersal movements by
terrestrial species are not as extensive as that which occurs in more inland states. Therefore, source
populations of terrestrial species cannot disperse and recolonize, as readily, more coastal areas from
which they were extirpated (sinks). Coastal Florida populations cannot recover from perturbations as
well, and therefore, declining populations are in more jeopardy of becoming extinct than populations that
are surrounded by source populations.
Because of the large surface area of water adjacent to Florida (Gulf and Ocean), plenty of water is
available to evaporate and fall back to the earth as rain which provides us with a wet season. Most other
landmasses at the same latitude are deserts because they lack this island trait.
Services to People: Services that natural systems provide to humans include: purification of air and
water, mitigation of floods and droughts, detoxification and decomposition of wastes, generation and
renewal of soil and soil fertility, pollination of crops and natural vegetation, control of the vast majority of
potential agricultural pests, dispersal of seeds and translocation of nutrients, source of agricultural
cultivares, medicinal (41% of modern medicine in the U.S. contain active ingredients directly obtained
from native biota), protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, moderation of temperature extremes
and the force of winds and waves, support of diverse human cultures, food and jobs (e.g., commercial
fisheries, and timber), water from lakes to irrigate agricultural fields, and recreation.
Ecotourism and Recreation: Tourism is the largest industry in the state and much of this industry relies
on natural systems (e.g., beaches and lakes). Recreational fishing, hunting and watching is a $5.5
billion/year industry in Florida. Florida's lakes are used for fishing, boating, swimming, snorkeling,
scuba diving, and skiing. Near-shore marine environments are important resources to commercial and
recreational fishing and diving industries. The annual budgets of state agencies that manage areas for
these recreational activities also contribute billions of dollars to the state's economy.
Everglades, a World Heritage Site: The Everglades system, "river of grass," originally encompassed
over 10,000 km2 in an elongated basin from the headwaters of the Kissimmee River to the Florida Bay,
and sloping a mere 3 cm/km. The Everglades National Park, which makes up about one-fifth of the
historic Everglades system, is the only national park in this hemisphere that holds three international
designations: The International Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site, and Wetland of International
Significance. This system also is an important site for migrating birds.
Reduction and Degradation
Decreases in Quantity and Quality: All of Florida's natural systems have suffered major declines
(Table 4; Figure 1). The greatest declines have occurred within this century. As a result, the ecological
processes, functions, values, and species within these systems are now in jeopardy of extinction. The
Florida Natural Areas Inventory lists 33 of the state's 70 systems (47%) as globally rare to critically
imperiled and 54 (77%) as state rare or critically imperiled.
Based on distribution of rare species and exemplary habitats, species richness, primary functional
landscapes and productivity, The Natural Conservancy's Strategic Plan (1996-2000) has identified 10
Priority Conservation Areas in Florida (Panhandle Longleaf Pine, Apalachicola River Basin, Red Hills,
St. Marys River Pinhook Swamp, Kissimmee Valley, Lake Wales Ridge, Indian River Lagoon, Southwest
Rivers and Flatwoods, Everglades, and Florida Keys). For each area, TNC has developed objectives and
plans that are focused on protecting Florida's biological diversity.
In a 1995 nationwide assessment of inland ecosystems, Florida was ranked first in ecosystem risk with 9
endangered ecosystems (Table 5). All of these are listed among the top 21 most-endangered ecosystems
in North America. In addition, at least 3 natural communities in the marine environment are severely
declining due to pollution, boating and diving activities: seagrasses, mangroves, and coral reefs.
Table 4. Extent of temporal changes in some of Florida's communities/ecosystems.
Community/ecosystem Description of Change
Seagrass meadows in Tampa Bay 81% reduction from the 1800s
Mangroves in Tampa Bay 7% reduction from 1950 to 1980
Salt marshes in Brevard County 95% were converted to mosquito control
Salt and freshwater marshes 60% reduction from 1936 to 1987
Everglades system 65% converted into a water control system
Coastal Strand 50% reduction from 1936 to 1987
Pine Rocklands 95% reduction from 1936 to 1987
Tropical Hammocks 50% reduction from 1936 to 1987
Central ridge scrub 82% reduction from 1936 to 1987
All forests 21% reduction from 1936 to 1987
All forests 35% are now in short rotation, pine plantations
Longleaf pine forests 87% reduction from 1936 to 1987'
1 Only 38% of the remaining longleaf pine forests is in public ownership.
Only a few remnants of Florida's old-growth forest remain to represent the vast woodlands that once
covered the state. While commercial pine plantations (54% of total forestland in industrial ownership,
23% in other private ownership, and 18% in public ownership) are still suitable for some wildlife species,
they lack many plant and animal species that are normally associated with older-growth, natural pine
During this century, 65 % of the Everglades system has been drained and converted into an engineered
water control system. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in native species diversity, disrupted natural
wet-dry cycles and consequent food webs. Most of the loss of Everglades marshlands resulted from
drainage for farming, the largest loss occurring immediately south of Lake Okeechobee.
Loss of Key Ecological Processes: Natural hydrologic regimes of wetlands have been altered. The
natural drying and flooding cycle of wetlands stimulates production and mobilizes nutrients bound in
plant material and in the soil. Timing of wetland-dependent wildlife breeding and nesting seasons is
closely tied with these natural cycles and water levels. For example, alligators build their nests at the
high-water level. If more water is artificially added to the system, their nests are flooded and destroyed.
Drainage and flood-control practices have caused population crashes of several species. Numbers of
wading birds nesting in colonies in the southern Everglades have declined 93% since the 1930's from
265,000 to 18,500. The wood stork has declined from 6,000 nesting birds to just 500 since the 1960's.
Natural fire regimes have been altered. These human-caused modifications of natural fire processes have
changed the vegetation structure and composition of systems rendering them less suitable habitats for the
fire-adapted species resident in these systems. For example, woody understory vegetation encroachment
into sandhills and flatwoods produces lesser quality, overly dense scrub systems. Other natural wetlands
have been altered by polluted runoff originating from intensively developed urban and agricultural lands.
On a larger scale, global warming could be causing various changes in the ocean. For example, coral
exposed to temperatures above 86 o Fahrenheit are reported to be stressed, produce slower and even die.
Figure 1. Temporal changes in major land use and land cover in Florida between 1936 and 1987 (Kautz
6 5 .......5. .........i.........i...... ... i
1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
1930 1940 1950 1980 11170 1980 1990
CROPLAND AND RANGELAND
930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
URBAN AND OTHER LAND
1930 1940 1950 1960 .. 1970 198.0 1990
1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
Table 5. Endangered Ecosystems in Florida.
South Florida Landscape
Longleaf Pine Forest
Large Streams and Rivers
Cave and Karst Systems
Ancient Eastern Deciduous Forest
Southern Forested Wetlands
Fragmentation: Habitat fragmentation refers to the tendency of remnant habitat patches to become reduced in
size and increasingly isolated from one another. As patch sizes fall below the minimum area to sustain a
breeding population, a species will disappear in areas that otherwise have suitable conditions. For example, 80-