Cracker Cattle Drive a Reflection of Florida’s Cattle Ranching History

February 19, 2013


500 Years of Florida Flora Firsts

Florida history was on the hoof as small herd of cattle was driven by authentic Florida cowboys through downtown Ocala during Saturday’s Rotary Discovery Fest Cracker Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up. The free event wound up with a festival in Tuscawilla Park.

CattleDrive2This urban cattle drive offers some glimpses of Florida’s cattle industry, which remains one of the nation’s 15 largest. Take a good look at the cattle. They are descendants of the Andalusian cattle the Spanish brought to Florida after Ponce de Leon landed on our west coast 500 years ago. Those cowboys driving them are the real deal, too, but historically cracker cowmen preferred the moniker “cow hunters.”

The Southeastern Youth Fair is also underway this week at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala.

Interested in learning more about cattle ranching in Florida? Here’s a link to short videos on cracker cattle and cracker horses from FDACS.RoundupPoster

Visitors to the Florida State Fair got a taste of Florida’s rich agricultural history from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ historical exhibit “Florida Agriculture: Then and Now.”

If you missed the exhibit at the state fair, plan to see it it as it travels the state as part of Florida’s Viva 500 celebration. Next stop is the Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair at Ft. Myers, Feb. 21- March 3.


DPI’s blog series, “Five Hundred Years of Florida Flora Firsts,” traces the impact plants have had on Florida’s history. The series will extend through 2013, coinciding with and supporting the state’s VIVA 500 commemoration of the landing of Ponce de Leon on Florida’s east coast in 1513. 


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