2014 Florida Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award Winners Named

Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam has announced the three winners of the state’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award, which recognizes agricultural enterprises that are at the forefront of developing and adopting environmentally innovative farming practices.

“The recipients of these awards have each demonstrated a sustained commitment to conserving our natural resources and improving our environment,” Commissioner Putnam said. “Whether producing milk, growing potatoes or cultivating nursery plants, they have all implemented best management practices that enabled them to reduce runoff and reuse water while producing high-quality agricultural products.”

The recipients are:
Bryan Jones
, owner of Riverdale Potato Farms in Elkton. Riverdale is a successful family enterprise that has produced hearty potato varieties for almost 30 years. Jones has developed innovative irrigation methods and equipment resulting in significant improvement in irrigation efficiency and reduced fertilizer runoff into the St. Johns River, while reducing operating costs and improving crop yields. Riverdale Farms uses a subsurface drip irrigation system that allows 90 percent water use efficiency, which greatly reduces the amount of surface water discharged from the edge of the field during irrigation events and storm events when compared to surface seepage irrigation. Nutrients are retained in the field, improving plant quality and reducing runoff. Through his participation in the Vegetable and Agronomic Crops Best Management Practices (BMPs) under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bryan and Riverdale Farms combine subsurface drip irrigation with fertilizer banding, reducing fertilizer use by 60-75 tons.

Randy Strode, owner and operator of Agri-Starts, Inc. in Apopka. This nursery has become one of the world’s leading suppliers of tissue culture starter plants. Agri-Starts currently has 452 plant varieties in production and another 104 in research and development. As the nursery business grows, so does its demand for more water. Agri-Starts developed and installed a system of cisterns, which enable the nursery to capture and re-use rainwater for 100 percent of its production needs. To further conserve water, the nursery also uses mist propagation, hand irrigation and wet pads to cool the nursery and provide continuous moisture. Agri-Starts is also enrolled in the Container Nursery Best Management Practices program, which has helped reduce pollutants, conserve precious water and produce high-quality starter plants to wholesale nurseries around the globe.

Sutton and Kris Rucks, 3rd generation dairy family and owners of Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee. The nearly 1,200-acre dairy is home to 1,200 milking cows. Milking R also leases 2,000 acres for beef cattle and another 350 acres for row crops. When the Rucks built their existing facility, they consulted with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to design a model farm featuring a high-intensity area stormwater and wastewater system. Milking R uses only fresh water for watering cattle and flushing the milking parlor floor. Waste from the milking and free stall barns is contained in a three-stage lagoon system for recycling. Using the state’s Best Management Practices, the Milking R allows for the capture, storage, reuse and treatment of 100 percent of the wastewater produced on the farm.  Besides reducing the cost of operations, the BMPs have also helped the Rucks reduce the amount of phosphorus imported to the basin.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories

Crop ProtectionFine Americas Bolsters Technical, Sales Force
December 16, 2014
Plant growth regulator company adds two industry veterans to enhance agriculture, ornamental, and landscape business. Read More
FruitsSumitomo Chemical Acquires U.S. DuPont Asana Insecticide Business
December 9, 2014
The insect control product will be distributed through Valent U.S.A. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioSafe Systems Announces Amendment To ZeroTol 2.0 Bactericide/Fungicide
December 9, 2014
ZeroTol 2.0 is now labeled for use on fruits and vegetables grown in the greenhouse. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainability’s Unintended Consequences [Opinion]
December 5, 2014
The good and bad of Whole Foods’ “Responsibly Grown” initiative. Read More
Insect ControlPrepare For The Bagrada Bug
December 5, 2014
Find out how to identify this pest that is plaguing growers in the West, and how you can control it. Read More
Insect Control6 Pests Of Snap Beans To Watch For In 2015
December 4, 2014
Two researchers in the East discuss which pests cause the most damage and how to keep them from taking over your crop. Read More
CucurbitsProblematic Pathogens In Melons And Watermelons
December 3, 2014
Find out how to monitor and control Phytophthora fruit rot, Fusarium wilt, and bacterial fruit blotch. Read More

The Latest

Crop ProtectionSuccess Sans Methyl Bromide Could Prove Costly
December 19, 2014
Economic factors must be accounted for when seeking a suitable replacement. Read More
Crop ProtectionFine Americas Bolsters Technical, Sales Force
December 16, 2014
Plant growth regulator company adds two industry veterans to enhance agriculture, ornamental, and landscape business. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioSafe Systems Announces Amendment To ZeroTol 2.0 Bact…
December 9, 2014
ZeroTol 2.0 is now labeled for use on fruits and vegetables grown in the greenhouse. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainability’s Unintended Consequences [Opinion]
December 5, 2014
The good and bad of Whole Foods’ “Responsibly Grown” initiative. Read More
Crop ProtectionPotential Biological Control Found For Potent Avocado P…
December 2, 2014
University of Florida scientists believe fungi could be key to beating the red bay ambrosia beetle and laurel wilt disease. Read More
Crop ProtectionThe Unlikely Parallel Between Human And Plant Health
October 31, 2014
One of the notable national developments in the summer of 2014 was the unexpected occurrence of serious respiratory infections in Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
Crop ProtectionTool Helps Track Insects On The Move At Night
October 1, 2014
Signals collected by the National Weather Service’s Doppler radar network may serve as an early warning system to track corn earworm, a major pest in sweet corn. Read More
Crop ProtectionCalifornia To Ban Some Pesticides In San Joaquin Valley
September 24, 2014
Chemistries with high Volatile Organic Compounds are used on pistachios, almonds, walnuts, grapes, and citrus crops. Read More
Postharvest Fungicide Treatments For Decay Management In Cherries [sponsor content]
Crop ProtectionPostharvest Fungicide Treatments For Decay Management I…
September 22, 2014
Take a look the results of efficacy tests for postharvest fungicide treatments, as shared by Jim Adaskaveg, plant pathologist at Read More
Postharvest Sanitation Washing Of Cherries Using Oxidizing Materials [sponsor content]
Crop ProtectionPostharvest Sanitation Washing Of Cherries Using Oxidiz…
September 22, 2014
Take a look the results of efficacy tests for fruit surface sanitation treatments, as shared by Jim Adaskaveg, plant pathologist Read More
Where Do Decay Problems In Cherries Come From? [sponsor content]
Crop ProtectionWhere Do Decay Problems In Cherries Come From? [sponsor…
September 22, 2014
Jim Adaskaveg, plant pathologist at the University of California, explains the major postharvest decay organisms, the problems they cause and Read More
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug On The Move In California
September 16, 2014
Find out more on management tactics and what counties are impacted by this invasive pest. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives EPA Approval
September 12, 2014
New product from Adama has a unique mode of action and is approved for use on a variety of vegetables. Read More
Crop ProtectionGiant Snail Threat Spreading In South Florida
September 10, 2014
Dangerous invasive pests found well outside Miami-area hot zone. Read More
Crop ProtectionStockton’s Timorex Gold Biofungicide Receives EPA Reg…
September 9, 2014
This broad spectrum fungicide can be used in rotation or in a tank mix. Read More
CitrusFMC Acquires Cheminova
September 9, 2014
Transaction expected to close in early 2015. Read More