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
Laurel wilt-damaged avocado tree leaves
Disease Control
September 15, 2017
Scientist Uncovers Chilling Side of Deadly Avocado Disease
Lab tests indicate laurel wilt pathogen grows faster in the fall and winter. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 13, 2017
Get Better Results From Your Biopesticide Program
Softer crop protection programs are becoming a must in specialty crop production. Growers who aren’t learning more about their options Read More
Packinghouse damage from Irma at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts of Irma
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biological Control
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Insect Control
September 6, 2017
Vegetable Pest Populations Can Soar in High Tunnels, Study Shows
High tunnels alone are not enough to control pest populations, the study shows. To control pest levels, growers need to take other steps that allow ventilation while screening crops, and supporting natural predators. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Dispelling the Rumors: Using Biologicals and Biochemicals in IPM Programs
Whether you’re a grower, packer, processor, or retailer, you have experienced the dramatic shift in consumer preference for sustainable practices Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Silicon: a Biocontrol Agent that Boosts Plant Immunity
Quality and profitability are two important factors that drive our agricultural markets. We have fine-tuned our cultivation processes over centuries Read More
CEU Series
September 1, 2017
CEU Series: Protect Crops and the Environment
Pay mind to your surroundings by practicing proper pesticide use. Read More
two-spotted spider mite
Citrus
August 25, 2017
California EPA Seeking to Review Chlorpyrifos
Department of Pesticide Regulation, Office of Environmental Health pursuing health protections. Read More
fall armyworm
Insect Control
August 24, 2017
Stop Fall Armyworm from Getting the Drop on Your Sweet Corn Crop
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this notorious pest. Read More
Assorted vegetables
Crop Protection
August 23, 2017
New Biological Fungicide Approved for Fruit and Vegetable Crops
Howler fungicide, developed by AgBiome, receives EPA registration for high-value, specialty crops. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in California
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Crop Protection
August 11, 2017
Do Fungicide- and Insecticide-Treated Seeds Boost Weeds?
The University of New Hampshire has received half a million dollars to investigate if seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds from its usual predators. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarters
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Crop Protection
August 9, 2017
Why Some of the Most Dangerous Potato Diseases are Successful
If you understand the role oxygen, and its lack, plays in potato diseases, you'll be better equipped to battle them. Read More
The Latest
Biocontrols Conference
September 13, 2017
Get Better Results From Your Biopesticid…
Softer crop protection programs are becoming a must in specialty crop production. Growers who aren’t learning more about their options Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts…
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biol…
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Dispelling the Rumors: Using Biologicals…
Whether you’re a grower, packer, processor, or retailer, you have experienced the dramatic shift in consumer preference for sustainable practices Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 1, 2017
Silicon: a Biocontrol Agent that Boosts …
Quality and profitability are two important factors that drive our agricultural markets. We have fine-tuned our cultivation processes over centuries Read More
Citrus
August 25, 2017
California EPA Seeking to Review Chlorpy…
Department of Pesticide Regulation, Office of Environmental Health pursuing health protections. Read More
Crop Protection
August 23, 2017
New Biological Fungicide Approved for Fr…
Howler fungicide, developed by AgBiome, receives EPA registration for high-value, specialty crops. Read More
Crop Protection
August 11, 2017
Do Fungicide- and Insecticide-Treated Se…
The University of New Hampshire has received half a million dollars to investigate if seed treatments inadvertently protect weed seeds from its usual predators. Read More
Citrus
August 11, 2017
Field Scouting Guide: Common Lambsquarte…
Take a look at these tips for identifying and treating this pervasive weed. Read More
Crop Protection
August 9, 2017
Why Some of the Most Dangerous Potato Di…
If you understand the role oxygen, and its lack, plays in potato diseases, you'll be better equipped to battle them. Read More
Crop Protection
August 3, 2017
Can Avocados Be Saved from Deadly Laurel…
Scientists from Florida and California are on the case and collaborating. Read More
Crop Protection
August 2, 2017
Report: 90% of NY Beehives Had Varroa Mi…
Cornell University's NYS Beekeeper Tech Team recent report also shows most hives are infected with Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), a disease linked to the mites. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
July 31, 2017
11 New Biocontrol Products You Need to K…
One of the highlights of the Biocontrols Conference & Expo Series is getting an early look at some of the Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2017
Vegetable Field Scouting Guide: Diamondb…
Due diligence is needed to help take down this pest of biblical proportions. Read More
Citrus
July 23, 2017
USDA Invests $7.6 Million toward Benefic…
Projects to promote beneficial organisms as part of a pest control strategy. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibali…
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Orga…
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Crop Protection
June 25, 2017
Study Suggests Closer-Proximity Lures He…
Research shows single-trap locations are not as effective as those kept close together. Read More