Pasco County welcomed cattle ranchers from across the nation Tuesday as it showcased the region's beef producers for those attending the National Cattlemen's Beef Association convention.
The convention, which opens today, is being held at the Tampa Convention Center. The pre-convention tour held Tuesday included visits to the Barthle Brothers Ranch and Two Rivers Ranch in Pasco.
Even at $180 per person, demand for the tour was so high that convention planners had to add a third tour bus.
Larry Barthle said he was honored to host the tour group. The Barthles raise Brangus, Hereford bulls and purebred Brahman cattle. They also breed quarter horses, sell grass seed and operate a quail and turkey hunting facility on the property during those seasons.
"We keep diversifying into different fields, and we try to be more efficient," Barthle said in an interview last week.
Florida used to be one of the top beef producing states in the nation, but it has slipped to 16th as more ranches are sold for development. Barthle said that last year's devastating drought in the Midwest has shifted more beef production to Florida and other Southern states.