Florida Cattle Ranching: 500 Years of Tradition

 

Florida's cattle industry, one of oldest and largest in the nation, is vital to the state’s well-being.  Ranching is an essential economic activity that preserves many aspects of the natural landscape, protects water resources, and maintains areas used by wildlife or for recreation.  Yet few know about Florida’s unique ranching traditions, which have been adapted to the subtropical climate and influenced by the state’s distinctive history.

This exhibit presents historical documentary images, scenes of contemporary ranch life, and artifacts that range from the Spanish colonial spurs to modern electronic ID tags. Learn about Florida's cattle ranching heritage from the 16th century to the present, the story of Cracker Cattle and Cracker Horses descended from stock introduced by Spaniards in the 1500s, and listen to audio segments that feature dozens of Florida cowboys, cowgirls and ranchers who inform and entertain you on topics ranging from cow dogs and Cracker cow whips to cowboy funerals and hilarious poetry based on ranch work experiences.

When to view: Every year we open this exhibit for Fair visitors during the Florida State Fair, students who attend our Florida Industry School Tours have the opportunity to see this exhibit, and groups by private reservation.