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Economy / Business

Cash Cow: Thousands of Cattlemen Expected at Tampa Convention Center

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Where's the beef? The answer, at least for this week, is Tampa.

Tuesday through Saturday, the Tampa Convention Center will host the National Cattlemen's Beef Association convention. As many as 4,000 cattlemen will be in town for the event, the Tampa Tribune reports.

The convention's theme is "Boots on the Bay," according to BeefUSA.org. The festivities kick off Tuesday morning with a preconvention tours of Barthle Brothers Ranch in Dade City and Two Rivers Ranch in Thonotosassa.

"People don't realize Florida was the first cattle ranching state in the nation — long before Texas," Robert Thomas, president of Two Rivers Ranch, told the Tribune. "We've had cattle here for 500 years. They were brought by the Spaniards in the 1400s."

Once one of the nation's top beef-producing states, Florida dropped to No. 16 as ranches were sold for development, the Trib reports. But with Midwestern beef production down due to last year's droughts, ranchers are hopeful that Florida will climb back into the top 10 this year.