Agriculture is a vital pillar of Hillsborough County’s economy. Although the county is already recognized for its strawberry and tomato crops, according to the recently released 2007 Census of Agriculture, Hillsborough County has become one of the largest producers in the nation of crops such as cantaloupes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and squash.
The 2007 Census shows Hillsborough County is the 3rd largest producer in the entire country for strawberries, and 7th largest for eggplant. The county also ranks in the top 20 counties in the nation for its cantaloupe, cucumber, southern peas, pepper, tomatoes, oranges, and squash.
The Census also shows Hillsborough County ranks 2nd in Florida in the number of farms, 4th in the state for the value of all agriculture products sold, and is Florida’s number one producer of cantaloupes and strawberries. The market value of production for the county is up 24% from the 2002 Census of Agriculture.
Hillsborough County’s Agriculture Industry Development Manager Stephen Gran said farmers have diversified the types of crops they produce in order to remain successful, planting a second crop for spring after their primary crop is harvested..
“As a result, Hillsborough County has grown to become one of the major producers of spring crops,” said Gran. “The County’s strong agricultural base economically impacts other related businesses, such as banking, real estate, legal services, transportation, packaging, equipment, seed, agricultural suppliers and services, and marketing firms.”