Nation's 14th Largest Cow-calf Ranch Ceases Operations, Focuses on Citrus

The 14th largest cow-calf operation is getting out of the cattle business to concentrate on citrus growing.

Alico Inc., a large agribusiness company in Florida, announced on Nov. 16 the company plans to “cease its direct cattle operations at Alico Ranch” by the end of the year. The majority of Alico’s grazing land is found in Hendry County, with some in Collier County. A total of 71,000 acres is listed in the “Conservation and Environmental Resources” portion of Alico’s holdings.

“The ranch has been a landholding for us for generations, but, even when profitable, ranch operations generated a minimal rate of return on capital,” Alico’s statement reads.

Alico plans to continue utilizing the property for long term water dispersement program and wildlife management programs. The grazing land will be leased to another party to run their own cattle.

“All of these decisions are intended to enable additional investment in the citrus business and redeployment of capital elsewhere,” Alico’s statement continues.

Citrus is going to be a focus of “Alico 2.0” a program that hopes to reduce total expenses per acre from $3,314/acre in FY16 to $2,164/acre. Alico hopes to reduce the company’s cost to produce a pound solid of citrus from $2.14 to $1.56.

On the Alico website, the herd is listed as being approximately 9,000 head total counting cows and breeding bulls. In 2016, Alico was the 14th largest cow-calf ranch in the U.S., according to data from CattleFax.

Alico began as Atlantic Land Improvement Company (ALICO) in 1898 and was a subsidiary of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. In 1960, Alico was spun off into its own company keeping the acronym as its name. The publicly traded company not only had interest in cattle and citrus, but also with sugar cane, forestry and sod production.

An interactive map of Alico’s land holdings can be seen here.

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