By Anne Cosgrove
From the September/October 2022 Issue
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a February 2022 report, stated: “Agriculture, food, and related industries contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, a 5.0% share. The output of America’s farms contributed $134.7 billion of this sum—about 0.6% of GDP. The overall contribution of agriculture to GDP is larger than 0.6% because sectors related to agriculture rely on agricultural inputs in order to contribute added value to the economy. Sectors related to agriculture include: food and beverage manufacturing; food and beverage stores; food service and eating and drinking places; textiles, apparel, and leather products; and forestry and fishing.”
Hamilton County: Florida’s Front Porch
Hamilton County is a rural area, rich in history, and loaded with Southern charm, ideally located at Florida’s primary northern entryway of I-75 and I-10. But this north central Florida region is about more than location and logistics. Hamilton County is about people. For generations, the community has attracted tourists to its pristine springs, rivers, and rich natural beauty.
Hamilton County’s location provides perfect positioning for a range of industries, including agribusiness. In White Springs, FL, Nutrien Ag Solutions has been operating since 1966. With its facilities and operations within a project area of approximately 100,000 acres, Nutrien Ag operates a phosphate mine that produces phosphoric acid—the base material for products used in plant nutrients and animal feed. The Nutrien Ag operation in White Springs employs approximately 600 people, a vast majority native to the state.
Hamilton County welcomes businesses of all sizes because it understands that a healthy and holistic economy includes the upcoming entrepreneur to the family farmer, from the international phosphate mining company to the celebrity chef looking to give back to his hometown.
In April, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded more than $5.4 million to the county through the Governor’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to facilitate the buildout of a 57-acre parcel at the intersection of I-75 and SR-6. The planned development will include a logistics park and travel center—with potential for future manufacturing.
“Bringing innovative opportunities to Florida’s rural communities does much more than create jobs,” said Governor DeSantis. “Projects like this pave the way for a bright future for rural communities by supporting new developments, economic growth, and workforce opportunities.”