Our History

Farmton has been owned and managed for almost a century by strong environmental stewards with roots in agriculture and a legacy of philanthropy.

Its history begins with the Deering family and reaches down through the years under the leadership of the Miami Corporation, now known as Miami Alternatives, LLC.

The Deering Family

Inventor and farmer William Deering founded Deering Harvester Works in the 1800s, specializing in modern farm equipment. His self-propelled harvester greatly increased production of grain throughout the world.

Eventually his company and others merged to form International Harvester.

When the Deerings formed the company to steward their landholdings in Oregon, Louisiana, and Florida, they named it after their much-beloved winter home of Miami, Florida, or so the legend is told.

Miami Corporation

The privately-owned family investment company, incorporated in 1917 by the Deerings, eventually became the largest landowner in Volusia County and one of the largest in Brevard County. Miami Corporation continued to provide management and stewardship to landholdings throughout the twentieth century. The company remained committed to conservation efforts on its properties. On December 31, 2020, Miami Corporation underwent a corporate reorganization and converted from a corporation to a limited liability company. As a result of the conversion, Miami Corporation changed its name to Miami Alternatives, LLC.

Vizcaya and the Deering Estate

The Deering children inherited their father’s belief in land stewardship and community philanthropy.

Charles Deering donated his 444-acre estate in Cutler in 1925. Now known as Deering Estate, the property includes a museum, nature preserve, and unique archeological site. Deering Estate reflects Charles Deering’s interest in art and the preservation of the natural world.

James Deering was a sophisticated collector of European, Asian and American Decorative Arts. In 1952, his children conveyed his collection to the Vizcaya Museum on Biscayne Bay. The property is open to the public, who enjoy the collections of art and furniture, the interior splendors of the estate, and also the magnificent gardens James had commissioned for the property.

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