The Florida Cattleman & Livestock Journal was originally published as The Florida Cattleman (1936) and The Florida Cattleman and Dairy Journal (1937-1944). The monthly serial has been published without interruption since 1936. It is an important regional publication in less than 25 libraries' collections. Ranching in Florida is important to the state’s history; unique farming practices evolved for success in sub-tropical conditions. Professional, long-term preservation of this serial is a high priority for the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation and the UF George A. Smathers Libraries. Through this project a complete set of the early print edition is preserved under professional conditions. Digitization of the material enables full-text searching at the issue level to assist practitioners, family genealogists, and agricultural historians.
The Florida Cattleman & Livestock Journal provides an inside testimony to the evolution of Florida’s cattle industry. Cattle ranching is "one of the state's oldest and most-defining professions" (J. Cusick, Florida History Librarian). The Florida Cattleman magazine documents changes in ranching practices through articles by UF/IFAS faculty, farmers, oral historians and advertisements. Influential families in Florida history are often featured, as many have been involved in the livestock industry.
"The Florida Cattleman is the principal publication documenting the rise of the ranching industry in Florida during the 20th century. …Florida Cattleman remains one of the best historic sources about that era, as well as chronicling health issues related to livestock, introduction of new breeds, changes in the economy and marketplace for cattle, legislative agendas, and environmental concerns." Jim Cusick, Florida History Librarian
"The magazine [is]...a treasure trove of information on the beef cattle and dairy industries of Florida. Much of this information is not available from any other source." Bob Stone, Folklorist
With an award from Project Ceres and permission from the Florida Cattlemen's Association, the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries digitized the Florida Cattleman & Livestock Journal from its inception through 1988. These historic issues are now freely available on the University of Florida Digital Collections. Project Ceres is a partnership between the United States Agriculture Information Network, the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative and the Center for Research Libraries. Open access to these archives will help preserve and educate the public on Florida’s rich and unique ranching history.
"This project is of extreme importance to our organization as it will help tremendously with our charter to promote and preserve our heritage, educate this and future generations about our industry, develop knowledgeable future leaders, and document and make easily accessible the research that sustains us." Tom Harper, Chairman, Florida Cattlemen's Foundation
"Now I can click a mouse and read a story about something that happened way back then, that we are reaping the benefits of today. So I think it’s going to be a really neat deal that I think a lot of people will enjoy as much as myself." Calvin (Buddy) Mills, Vocational Agriculture Teacher, Yearling Middle School, Okeechobee
Digitization of the Florida Cattleman & Livestock Journal was made possible with funding provided by Project Ceres, a partnership established in 2012 to preserve and digitize historic agricultural publications. Project Ceres partners are the Center for Research Libraries, United States Agriculture Information Network and Agriculture Network Information Collaborative.
Thanks also to material support from the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation who donated 11 volumes of historic issues to fill in gaps in the library's print collection.