This past January marked the 20th anniversary of the Great Florida Cattle Drive. For one week, several hundred participants drove over 400 head of cattle from St. Cloud to Kenansville without any horse trailers, vehicles or modern technology. Much detail goes into keeping this tradition historically accurate so that trailblazers can understand what a real cattle drive was like in the 1800s. To fully experience the authenticity of the drive, participants sleep under the stars, dress in 19th century clothing (suspenders, bonnets, and chaps), and sit around the camp fires, reading poetry and singing good ol’ cowboy music.

Florida’s cattle ranching history runs deep, originating with Spanish explorers in the early 1500s. Early cattlemen did not have an easy time establishing the industry. They constantly battled pests, weather, and Indian attacks to successfully raise their beef cattle for food. Hundreds of years later, when railroads became a conventional mode of transportation, ranchers were able to ship cattle across the country. The beef industry grew by leaps and bounds. Because Florida was an open pasture, ranch hands— also known as crackers because of the sound their whips made when they snapped— rounded up cows over hundreds of miles to bring to the market.

Five centuries of tradition sprung from what began as an essential economic decision, influencing the state’s history and agricultural life to this day. The Great Florida Cattle Drive has kept the tradition alive for the world to see the role cattle has— and will— play in our state’s future.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection products distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture.

For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.