Florida family farm

Florida Family Farm Being Preserved Through Rural and Family Lands Protection Program

Dan Conservation, Environment, Florida, Pasture, Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP)

Florida family farm
Cows standing in the field and grazing.
By sorsillo/DepositPhotos image

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) today announced the preservation of a Florida family farm. Through the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) the Limestone Creek Ranch property, a more than 470-acre cattle operation in Hardee County, is being preserved through a rural land protection easement for $2,837,000.

“We are very proud to add the folks at Limestone Creek Ranch to the growing list of generational farmers in Florida who share our commitment to maintaining the productivity and sustainability of Florida’s agricultural landscape through the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program,” saidFlorida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson.“ By safeguarding our rural lands through protection easements, we enhance food security, maintain these protected properties within the local tax system, and ensure property owners adhere to state standards for land and natural resource conservation.”

Limestone Creek Ranch has operated for over 70 years as a traditional cow/calf cattle ranch with an average of 300 head. Prior to its current ownership, the ranch was owned and operated by the current owner’s ancestors, Doyle Carlton, Sr., and Doyle Carlton, Jr. The ranch consists of improved pasture and native woods and is bisected by Limestone Creek which drains east to the Peace River. The property includes a mosaic of uplands and wetlands and is part of a larger landscape of habitat diversity with a total of 2,082 acres. Current ownership is in an LLC comprised of the grandchild and great grandchildren of Doyle E. Carlton Sr. Since the land was acquired by the late Mr. Carlton in 1935, it has been continuously operated as a traditional cow/calf operation. The Carlton family has an extensive history in ranching in Florida, dating back to the mid-1800s.


The RFLPP, established in 2001 with the passage of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Act, purchases the development rights to the agricultural properties through voluntary rural land easements, which prevent the future development of the land and allow agriculture operations to continue to contribute to Florida’s economy and the production of food, timber, and other resources vital to the prosperity of Florida.

During the 2024 Legislative Session, Commissioner Simpson helped to secure from the Florida Legislature $100 million for the RFLPP and another $100 million each fiscal year, appropriated in SB 1638, to support the Florida Wildlife Corridor, including the acquisition of conservation easements under the RFLPP.