Expected to draw more than 60,000 to Tropical Park, the sixth annual Miami International Agriculture and Cattle Show, Apr. 12-14, serves as a focus on the county’s position as a “gateway to domestic markets in agriculture,” according to the events founder, Miami- Dade District 10 Commissioner Javier Souto.
Representatives from more than 24 countries include cattle breeders from 18 major beef-growing and horse herding states that make the three-day spring market a must for stock sales, beginning Friday, Apr. 12, 2-5 p.m., with the inaugural Magic City Horse Sale and Auction.
But even as agri-business flourishes, thousands of youngsters and adults from throughout South Florida are expected to flock to a free weekend “Farmville Experience” as well as special events displaying expert horsemanship.
The Saturday, Apr. 13, program begins with a flag ceremony at 12:30 p.m., followed by a team soccer exhibition on horseback and a Nicaraguan Horse and Folklore Show. This is followed by a team roping demonstration, a performance by Rachel and Her Arabian Wonder Horse, girls’ barrel racing, and a whip and lasso demonstration.
Then comes the “Medieval Times Spectacular” at 4 p.m. with jousting knights and leaping Andalusian horses.
A Colombian Paso Fino Folklore Show at 5 p.m. is capped by a professional polo exhibition at 5:30 p.m. with a second schedule featuring many of the same performances on tap from noon-6 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 14. For complete schedules, visit online at <www.miacs.info/>.
Throughout the weekend, wild American mustangs will be on display as well as Equestrian Trail Western exhibits, with pony and horseback rides along with mechanical bull riding and a massive kids play zone.
For horticulturists, the show offers plant grafting and clinics amidst a display of ornamental plants and flowers, fruits and vegetables, all with cultivation advice from experts at Dade County Farm Bureau, Florida Farm Bureau and U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Another first-time feature is an International Equine Auction with such outstanding breed examples as Paso Fino, Andalusian, Quarter Horses and Peruvian Paso Finos.
“Now moving into our fifth year, we continue to make improvements and additions to ensure the continued success of the show for everyone who enjoys interacting with farm stocks and professional animal showmanship,” Souto emphasized.
Only a month ago, the commissioner announced an $8.7 million expansion at Tropical Park that will include new facilities for expanding the event site at the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center as well as open a new Cultural and Arts Center elsewhere in the Park.
The Florida Cattlemen’s Association has recognized the Miami show as one of its five Premier Point Shows in Florida with multiple stocks exhibited, including Brahman, Brangus, Angus, Santa Gertrudis and Senepol breeds of cattle. The American Brahman Breeders Association also has marked the event as a Premier Point Show.
“With agricultural products and services in frequent demand throughout the world, Miami-Dade County is taking advantage of a multi-billion dollar, technologicallyadvanced industry by providing a convenient, central location for international beef cattle breeders, agriculturalists and agribusiness representatives to easily access domestic industry products,” Souto said.
Noting that the Equestrian Center now hosts 36 events annually including three state and local dog shows, Souto said the premier Agriculture and Cattle Show continues to harness a new agri-business for Miami-Dade County by creating a central trading spot for livestock breeders in Florida and the Southeast United States and Latin America.
Stock from Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and Missouri as well as Florida provide a market eagerly sought by buyers from Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Panama and Guatemala, among the leaders in the trade.
Commissioner Souto helped originate the event with the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department when the first-ever International Agriculture and Cattle Show was opened in 2008. It was aimed to promote Florida’s agricultural industry.
“We have now become a gateway for many purebred producers who have made this show a key venue for marketing cattle and genetics throughout the U.S. and in prominent international livestock dealers,” he stated.
Aiding the development and staging of the show is the Miami-Dade Horse Council of South Florida, a Florida nonprofit representing statewide horse organizations on behalf of the horse industry and its aficionados.