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Splenda Launches $50 Million Eco-Conscious Farm in Sumter County
Splenda has announced the opening of a $50 million, 1,465-acre eco-conscious farm in Sumter County. According to Gelov, CEO of Heartland Food Products Group, Splenda’s parent company, growing and producing Stevia extract here in Sumter County will help bolster the American agriculture industry while helping decrease the environmental impact of shipping products from overseas. In addition, the investment in the Splenda Stevia Farm represents our commitment to Made In America and minimizing reliance on overseas ingredients. Gelov notes our investment helps local farmers, the environment, and the overall economic prosperity of Central Florida. 
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Did You Know?

  • 10.7 million people traveled through Florida's seaports in 2022, according to Florida Ports Council. 
  • Florida was the number one tomato producer in the U.S., producing enough tomatoes to account for 64 percent of the value of America’s tomato crops, according to the Flordia Department of Agriculture.
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture put the value of Florida's last year's tomato harvest at $463 million.
Florida Seaports Reached New Record High for Cargo Handled
The total tonnage through Florida ports was 112 million tons of material in 2022. Sumter County is right in the middle of the action. Sumter County has access to five seaports so truckers can make a round trip in one workday—Miami and Jacksonville included. CSX's S-line industrial rail runs the entire north-south length of the county and is an integral element of the Sumter County transportation hub. 
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Florida Citrus Industry Stays Strong
Despite challenges from diseases, land development trends, and extreme weather, Florida’s citrus industry contributed $6.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2020-21, according to UF/IFAS's most recent report. The citrus industry supports a total of 32,542 full-time and part-time jobs in the state. Total value-added contributions, estimated at $2.841 billion. Labor income contributions amounted to $1.6 billion, representing earnings by employees and business owners throughout Florida’s economy.
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CareerSource Central Florida Summer Youth Program
With summer right around the corner, applying to CareerSource Central Florida is a great way to earn up to $1,200+ this summer and gain invaluable experience. High school students aged 15-19 are eligible for the program. The program allows high school students to discover college careers, explore workplaces, or work a five-week paid internship with potential beyond five weeks. If members of the community want to become partners of the Summer Youth Program or knows someone who might want to apply, click below.
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Featured Business

Envirosafe™ Tanks manufactures above ground fuel storage tanks and dispensing systems and offers turnkey designs that arrive ready to receive fuel. Connect power, fill with fuel, and start servicing your fleet right away. Their products are widely used in both the public and private sectors for the fleet, marine, construction, sanitation, and trucking industries. Envirosafe™ is a family-owned manufacturing business located in Bushnell, Florida.

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Upcoming Webinars and Events
Florida SBDC at UCF
Offering a Variety of Business Trainings Online

Online Webinars
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Mid Florida SCORE
Quick Tips to Refresh Your Older Website
April 4, 2023, begins at 7:00 PM EST

Online Webinar
Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter
Free Education Event on Homeownership
5:00-6:00 pm
April 11, 2023
200 E Main St.
Leesburg, FL 34748

(352) 483-0434 x134
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