Water and Nutrient Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Driven by a need to ensure safe and adequate water for urban and rural purposes, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has rolled out crop and animal specific production guides to encourage stewardship of our natural resources. The Vegetable and Agronomic Crop (VAC) manual details how growers can comply with state regulations through implementation of BMPs including:
|soil sampling||mobile irrigation lab testing|
|soil moisture sensing||plant tissue analysis|
|nutrient budgeting||conservation tillage|
|cover cropping||weather monitoring|
|sod based rotations||precision ag. technologies|
New regulations from the Spring Protection Act and Senate Bill 552 further regulate the flow and nutrient (Total Maximum Daily Load) levels of various “Impaired water bodies” including the Sante Fe and Suwannee Rivers where a large number of natural springs occur.
Studies at the SVAEC center in Live Oak and local farms build off these guidelines to offer farmers ways to improve or limit the environmental impact on these waterways. Because many of these new techniques are unproven, cost-share money is offered on Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to reimburse 50 to 90% of the cost of implementation. Hopefully, as time and science bear out the value of these practices, more growers will implement these management practices, and impact both their bottom line and the environment in positive ways.