The History of Air Conditioning

Different forms of air conditioning and refrigeration have been around for centuries. Still, it wasn’t until one Floridian came up with a unique idea in the 1840s that progress began, leading to today’s modern air conditioning.

What’s Been Killing Florida’s Citrus Industry?

Millions of citrus acres have been lost to greening, thousands of jobs have been lost, and billions of state income have been lost. Millions of dollars have been spent both by the government and private citizens and companies on research for a cure, but none have been found to date. 

Negotiating Conservation Easements

Negotiating conservation easements can be tricky and will have a permanent impact on the owner of private land. Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, is a real estate broker and conservation easement expert. He sat down with us to explain how to negotiate conservation easements.

Saunders used an example scenario in conservation easement negotiation. These negotiations are an important part of coming to an agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency at the state and federal level.

Florida’s Long Legacy of Alfred DuPont and Edward Ball: Part 1

Alfred duPont and Edward Ball Created a legacy in Florida that is felt to this day.

Edward Ball, the last of the Florida robber barons, died at age 96, still running his company and fighting every day for the control he’d always enjoyed. At the end of his life, he was in a legal battle with his own company over whether or not a frail older man should still be allowed to run such a large enterprise.

But who was Edward Ball? Where did he amass his fortune? And why is he a controversial figure?

To understand where Edward Ball came from, you have to know about Alfred Irénée duPont.

Alfred I. duPont is known today for the Nemours Foundation and the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, but he also played an important role in Florida’s history.

What Are the Two Types of Conservation Easements?

Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, the founder and managing director of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate, began working with real estate conservation easements a quarter-century ago. Though more common now as a means of preserving land and protecting wildlife, at the time, the practice was far more limited.

A Brief History of Racing in Daytona

Before the Daytona 500 was held at the Nascar International Speedway, the beaches of Daytona were home to auto racing. With its humble beginnings, it’s remarkable how auto racing went from causal competitions on the beach to a billion-dollar industry.

The Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine

Tourists and native Floridians alike have flocked to the beautiful city of St. Augustine thanks in no small part to Henry Flagler, who took it upon himself to create a city for the wealthy. During the 1920s, St. Augustine saw wealth like no other coming in and out of the town. But when the Great Depression hit, it created an exaggerated economic division between the poor and the rich.

Historic Natural Springs in Florida

While sandy beaches are usually the first images that come to mind at hearing the word “Florida,” many born-and-raised Floridians have found that they prefer the particular delights offered by natural springs. Tourists have also discovered the crystal clarity and coolness provided by the natural spring water.

Florida History: The Tampa Mafia (Part Five)

In the fifth part of the interview, Deitche described the low decline of organized crime that took place from the 1970’s to the late 1990’s. (See previous installments of this series: Part OnePart TwoPart Three, and Part Four)

Florida History: The Tampa Mafia (Part Four)

In the fourth part of our series of interviews, Deitche discussed the possible connections between the Tampa mafia and the event that has drawn the most speculation in modern history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. 

How Dean Saunders Helped Create Bright Futures (Part Three)

In the third part of the interview, Saunders began by telling the story of how he convinced Governor Chiles not to veto the Bright Futures bill in 1996.

While Governor Chiles declined to sign the bill at that time, he also did not veto it, which allowed the bill to be made into law. Saunders had set aside $15 million to begin the program, but other leaders in the Florida Legislature knew that it would take more time to plan and execute.

“It’s 1997 now, and now everybody’s lining up to support the Bright Futures scholarship. I didn’t have many of these people back when I was doing the authorization. It was sluggin’, it was hard to get it done.”

How Dean Saunders Helped Create Bright Futures (Part Two)

While in the Florida House of Representatives, Dean also initiated legislation for Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program. In the second part of this interview, Saunders described the process that he went through when passing the Bright Futures bill.

He explained that the reason for hesitation amongst lawmakers was because the program was “committing future dollars. The whole idea was that (the scholarship) wasn’t financially based.”

How Dean Saunders Helped Create Bright Futures (Part One)

In the interview, Saunders described his initial inspiration for what would eventually become the Bright Futures program.

He began by explaining that the proceeds from the Florida Lottery had mostly been given directly to the individual school districts around the state.

However, during a recession that hit in 1990, those funds were more widely distributed throughout the government, causing those that had voted for the Florida Lottery to feel a sense of betrayal.

What is a Conservation Easement?

From 1992 to 1996 Saunders served in the Florida House of Representatives, and while in office pioneered the conservation easement program that has grown robust in the decades since. Saunders believes that Conservation Easements are a fair and beneficial process that will help protect Florida’s environment for decades to come.

As a leading expert on conservation easements, Dean began the interview by defining Conservation Easements as “a legal document that travels with the property. From a practical perspective, it is an agreement between two parties for restricted use of that property.”

The History of Florida’s Conservation Easements: Part Two

Dean Saunders continues explaining how conservation easement programs were developed in Florida. His idea gained little traction until 1992 when Dean was elected to the Florida legislature. He decided to do a trial run of a conservation easement program in the Green Swamp area in Polk and Lake counties.

The History of Florida’s Conservation Easements: Part One

In a recent interview, Dean Saunders discussed how agricultural events in the 1980s inspired him to create legislation that evolved into Florida’s conservation easement programs.

How the Great Depression Impacted Florida

In the early 1920s, Florida experienced a real estate boom. Prices were soaring. People were moving here in droves. Life was good. But it couldn’t last forever. With the Great Depression just around the corner, Floridians had no idea that economic desolation loomed just ahead.

The Wrath of Florida’s Hurricanes

While Florida is acclaimed for its sunny beaches and warm weather, it is also infamous for the more disastrous side of its climate. And few weather events are as disastrous as hurricanes. 

Three Reasons Why the State Buys Conservation Easements from Landowners

We recently sat down with Dean Saunders to discuss conservation easements. Saunders outlined three reasons why the state buys conservation easements.

Florida History: The Tampa Mafia (Part Three)

Deitche continued his interview by describing the era of the Tampa Mafia that was defined by Santo Trafficante Jr. Upon the death of his father in 1944, Santo Trafficante Jr. dominated the Tampa crime organization through the 40’s and 50’s.

Florida History: NASA and the Space Coast

Florida’s Space Coast is not only home to the Kennedy Space Center and NASA, but it played a unique role in the Space Race. The US and the USSR were in the heights of the Cold War. While this period may have lacked in armed conflict, the two countries made up for in an epic space-bound competition.

Florida History: The Tampa Mafia (Part Two)

The Land Journal recently sat down with Scott M. Deitche, author of Cigar City Mafia, to talk about the history of organized crime in Tampa. As we continued our interview with Deitche, he went on to describe the post-prohibition crime landscape of Tampa. Deitche compared the funds made by crime groups through bootlegging to “venture capital” raised by an upstart business today. 

Florida History: The Civil War

On January 10, 1861, a few short months before the onset of the Civil War, Florida became the third state to secede from the Union. Due to its geographical position as the southern-most Confederate state, Florida’s role in the Civil War was limited. However, this did not mean that there were no battles to be fought in Florida.

Florida History: The Tampa Mafia (Part One)

The Land Journal recently sat down with Scott M. Deitche, author of Cigar City Mafia, to talk about the history of organized crime in Tampa. 

How Farm Credit Can Assist Landowners

For those Floridians exploring finance options for a career in agriculture, contacting Farm Credit of Florida may be a very beneficial option to consider. The Land Journal sat down with Jamie Lang to discuss how they operate.

Industrial Hemp: What Florida Can Learn From Colorado

As Florida expands it’s hemp industry, it can look to Colorado to see what the future of hemp may look like. One essential tool that Colorado used to grow their hemp industry was the passage of Amendment 64. We recently sat down with Kirk Goble to discuss the importance of Amendment 64.

Florida History: The Black Seminoles

The underground railroad was a pathway used by runaway slaves to escape the shackles of slavery and pursue a life of freedom. Traditionally, the railroad headed North toward freedom but a small portion of runaways instead turned South toward Florida.

A Century Later: Florida Land Boom Retrospective

The old adage that “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” is perhaps the most applicable statement to define the crash of 2008. In the 1920s, Florida had a major land boom followed by a devastating crash. If only we had heeded these events from our past, perhaps we could have avoided their replication.

The Modern History of Hemp

Following the illegalization of hemp cultivation in 1937, a major event took place that would cause yet another resurgence for the cultivation of hemp. With the dawning of the Second Word War, there was once again a demand for the production of hemp. The supply chain of fibers needed for the war effort were cut off by the Japanese military, and American farmers were asked to grow hemp for the cause.

The Early History of Hemp

Though hemp and it’s legalization are still hot topics for discussion today, many people do not realize just how integral hemp was in the early history of the United States, and even humanity itself.  The cultivation of hemp stretches back ten millennia and is filled with intrigue and controversy.

Building the Magic City: A History of Miami Part Three 

In order to understand the growth of Miami in the late twentieth century, we must first understand the history of an island a mere 90 miles South of Florida. During the turbulence of the Cold War, Cuba would take center stage in the world theatre and alter the course of Miami’s future.

Preservation: Managing Florida’s Water Systems 

Michael Minton is Chair of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Solar Energy Industry Teams. He hosted a special panel at the recent Lay of the Land Conference on Water Management featuring leaders from Florida’s water management districts.

2020 Lay of the Land Conference: Water Management Panel Preview

Michael Minton is Chair of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Solar Energy Industry Teams. He’ll be hosting a special panel session at this year’s conference on Water Management featuring leaders from Florida’s water management districts. Register at

Building the Magic City: A History of Miami Part Two 

Miami Beach, founded in 1913, soon proved itself to be a great attraction to many tourists. But the golden age of tourism in Miami happened during the age of Prohibition when alcohol was outlawed during the 1920’s. The city of Miami unofficially welcomed bootleggers and gambling in the city. While gambling and selling alcohol were technically illegal on the books, word started to get out that Miami was a place to relax, go to the beach, and maybe have a drink while playing a game of poker. All of these desirable assets made way for the Florida real estate boom.

Building the Magic City: A History of Miami Part One 

From the railroad barons who brought the trains to the African-American community that built the city, the story of Miami is a classic American tale. The Land Journal sits down with historian Dr. Marvin Dunn to discuss the early history of Miami.

Environmental Concerns and Remediation

When purchasing a new property, there are certain signs that might be a cause for environmental concern. Recently, The Land Journal sat down with A-C-T to discuss what landowners should be on the lookout for when purchasing a property. This video includes a lot of Frequently Asked Questions our experts have received over the years.

Environmental Considerations when Purchasing Land

When purchasing property, it is essential to take into account what environmental considerations need to be made in order to meet governmental and ethical standards. Some properties that may not initially appear to have any environmental concerns may be misleading. To be sure that all environmental considerations are taken into account, it is wise to consult with environmental experts. That’s why The Land Journal sat down with A-C-T Environmental and Infrastructure to discuss environmental considerations for landowners.

A Cowboy’s Guide to Florida Cattle and Branding

When discussing the cattle industry here in Florida, it is best to consult with professionals who have decades of experience raising cattle. Recently, The Land Journal sat down for an interview with Dave Delargy, who has spent over four decades working at a ranch at Yeehaw Junction.

Florida History: The Beauty of Brahma Island

“We’re really proud that we’re the owners of the island, it really means a lot to us, and it’s important for us to keep the natural beauty here and not change anything.” says Lightsey. The family’s dedication to conserving the beauty of the island to pass down to future generations has been a blessing to the land, which otherwise might have been sold and used for development. 

How to Respond to Eminent Domain: Know Your Rights

Every year, many landowners are faced with a legal predicament known as eminent domain. Eminent domain is a tool used by government agencies to acquire land that is not for sale. If a government agency decides that they need land that a landowner is unwilling to sell, the agency can use eminent domain in order to acquire the land. But here in the state of Florida, landowners have certain rights laid out in our state constitution regarding eminent domain. One of these rights is an entitlement to “full compensation.”

The Evolution of East Coast Farming

Citrus has been the most iconic agricultural Floridian output. And while the citrus industry is an essential pillar of Florida’s Agriculture Industry, many of our state’s farmers are exploring the potential of alternative crops. In this video, Jeff Cusson discusses how Florida’s East Coast agriculture has evolved and will continue to evolve in the years to come.

A Guide to Opportunity Zones

The Land Journal sits down with Tyler Davis to discuss Opportunity Zones. In April 2019, the United States Treasury Department released the long-awaited second round of proposed regulations related to the “Opportunity Zone” initiative which was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017. The initiative provides tax incentives to investors that invest in business or properties within designated “Opportunity Zones.”

Florida Wildlife Mitigation: A Guide for Landowners

In this video, Elaine Imbruglia of Modica & Associates sits down with The Land Journal to discuss wildlife mitigation for wildlife species native to Florida including Gopher Tortoises, Scrub Jays, Sandhill Cranes, Burrowing Owls, Bald Eagles, and Indigo Snakes.

The Impact of Sand Skinks

A Sand Skink is a type of Lizard that lives in sandy soil along the ridge of Central Florida. The skink can have a great impact on the value and uses of a property. Elaine Imbruglia, President of Modica and Associates, talks us through the giant impact a tiny lizard can have on a property.

Dr. Jerry Parrish: Florida Economic Outlook 2019

Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation, Dr. Parrish, discusses the growth in Florida over the last year and delivers some insight on the economic outlook for 2019 and beyond.

Millennials and the Economy

KC Conway, CRE, Chief Economist for CCIM Institute, spoke at the 2019 Lay of the Land Conference and had some interesting insights into the growth of the Millennial population and what that may mean for Baby Boomers in the near future.

Basic Overview of Forestry

Tony Wallace and Jack Vogel, partners at National Resource Planning Services, give a brief overview of the Forestry industry. Saunders Real Estate partners with Natural Resource Planning Services to provide management and consulting services for landowners, providing them with income opportunities and creating best management practices for wildlife, land clearing, and aesthetics.

Timber Investing

Tony Wallace and Jack Vogel, partners at National Resource Planning Services, discuss timber investing and the opportunities that come with investing. Saunders Real Estate partners with Natural Resource Planning Services to provide management and consulting services for landowners, providing them with income opportunities and creating best management practices for wildlife, land clearing, and aesthetics.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection 2019 Update

Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Noah Valenstein, gives an update on recent changes in the department with the new Governor’s plans for Florida. He also touches on preserving a high standard of water quality and the importance of science-based decisions.

Public/Private Partnerships

Jeff Cusson of Saunders Real Estate and Michael Minton, Chair of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Solar Energy Industry Teams at Dean Mead Attorneys at Law, sit down to discuss public/private partnerships. Watch this discussion on the new changes to Section 118, that may effect landowners and investors.

UF:IFAS Hemp Pilot Project Update 2019

Florida Director of Cannabis, Holly Bell and assistant professor Dr. Zachary Brym from the Department of Agronomy at UF’s Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) sit down to discuss the The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Hemp Pilot program. Zachary is the program coordinator and is overseeing the research for UF/IFAS.

Florida Hemp Update  2019

Florida Director of Cannabis, Holly Bell and assistant professor Dr. Zachary Brym from the Department of Agronomy at UF’s Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) sit down to discuss the growing hemp market and the arrival of the first hemp plants arriving in the state of Florida in the last 70 years. 

Florida Medical Marijuana Update with Director of Cannabis Holly Bell

Florida Director of Cannabis, Holly Bell, was one of the keynote speakers for the 2019 Lay of the Land Conference and sat down with us for a candid interview on medical marijuana.

How to Find Good Timberland Investments

Jack Vogel and Tony Wallace of Saunders Real Estate’s Forestry Division talk about helping clients to find and assess values on timberland investment properties.

Strawberry 2018-19 Update

Kenneth Parker discusses the 2017- 2018 season and the current 2018- 2019 season. He details the market condition for both years as well as weather patterns and how they affected the growth and yield of the crops.

Solar Farms

With solar power becoming a hot topic in the Sunshine State, Saunders Real Estate associate Jeff Cusson sits down with the experts at Dean Mead Attorneys at Law to discuss the ins and outs of solar farms. Topics range from economic considerations and site selection to predictions of the industry’s future in Florida. 

Common Strawberry Farming Issues

Carson Futch and Kenneth Parker, Executive Director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association discuss H2A works, climate conditions and various farming issues that Strawberry growers deal with on a yearly basis.


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