Agriculture

JIM STRICKLAND

OWNER, STRICKLAND RANCH, MYAKKA CITY

Strickland likes being a rancher so much that, even if he couldn’t make a living at it, he’d do it anyway, he says. “My avocation is my job. I love being a Florida cowboy,” he says. Strickland, a Manatee County native who graduated from Manatee High School in 1973, comes from a family that has been ranching in Florida since before the Civil War. He took over his family’s ranch when he was still a teenager, following the death of his father. Today, he owns Strickland Ranch and is managing partner of Big Red Cattle and Blackbeard’s Ranch, a 4,530-acre cow-calf operation that borders Myakka River State Park. A conservationist and also a vice chairman of the Florida Conservation Group, Strickland is seeking to protect Blackbeard’s Ranch from future development by seeking conservation easements for land. “Many folks don’t realize that profitable cow-calf ranches are critical to keeping an open and wild landscape,” he says. “These ranches are largely natural; they provide wildlife habitat and drinking water for urbanized areas.”

WHY HE RANCHES “I’ve been a rancher my whole life, and it’s all I ever wanted to do. I love the cows, the woods and the wildlife. Right now I am focused on the melding of conservation and agriculture, specifically the importance of ranchland conservation and sustainable and profitable agriculture to Florida’s water and wildlife and our quality of life.”
FINDING BALANCE “We are a constantly changing and fast-growing state, and this has large implications for the ranching industry. Ranchers need to constantly evolve and adapt to outside pressures that affect our ability to do our job. Balancing these growth and development pressures with our sustainable food production and natural resource conservation is a constant challenge.”

“I don’t have a bucket list. I’m already living my dream.”

Mike Adams

Adams Ranch

ERNIE BARNETT

FLORIDA LAND COUNCIL

Michael Basore

TKM Bengard Farms

Robert Behr

Citrus World

ANN BLOUNT

FORAGE BREEDING AND GENETICS, UF/IFAS

Robert Buker

U.S. Sugar

RICK DANTZLER

CITRUS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

MALLORY LYKES DIMMITT

LYKES BROTHERS

Pepe Fanjul Jr.

Florida Crystals

Lynetta Usher Griner

Usher Land & Timber

Mitch Hutchcraft

King Ranch

Mike Joyner

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

Dan Richey

Riverfront Packing

Jose Smith

Costa Farms

Jim Strickland

Strickland Ranch

Leslie Sturmer

University of Florida IFAS

Keith Wedgworth

Wedgworth Farms

Gary Wishnatzki

Wish Farms