Building Better BMPs For Florida Citrus

The ABCs Of BMPs

As 2012 comes to a close, a new best management practices (BMP) manual for Florida citrus has been released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The new manual unifies the regional approaches that had been employed in earlier BMP rules.

BMPs are established through a collaboration of grower stakeholders, allied industry, UF/IFAS, FDACS, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, water management districts, and other agricultural associations. There are currently BMP manuals covering a wide range of agricultural production in the state including livestock, specialty crops, and landscape and nursery production.

Re-Enroll On The Ridge

“The most important change with the new manual will be how this will apply to growers on the Ridge,” says Brian Boman, BMP Coordinator for UF/IFAS. “In the past, growers on the Ridge simply signed a notice of intent that they would follow BMP recommendations. The way the new rule reads, growers on the Ridge will have to re-enroll into the program.”

Growers in the Peace River, Gulf, and Indian River regions will be grandfathered in and not required to re-enroll. According to Bill Bartnick, environmental administrator for FDACS, roughly 124,000 acres of citrus on the Ridge will need re-up in the program. “The growers on the Ridge have to re-enroll because the new statewide manual is more comprehensive than the BMPs specified by the 2002 Ridge Citrus Rule, which focused primarily on nitrogen fertilizer management,” he says.

Proactive Approach To Water

In 1998, citrus growers in the Indian River area took the initiative and organized the first agricultural BMP manual in the state. It was a great example of a private/public partnership designed to address water quality issues. The objective was to identify practices that have the potential to improve water quality and reduce the quantity of runoff water draining into the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon.

Following the Indian River manual, the Ridge Citrus Rule was adopted in 2002, followed by BMP manuals for Peace River in 2005, and Gulf in 2007. The effort to consolidate these manuals began in 2009 and the new BMPs address statewide and region-specific practices for water quality and water conservation.

According to Bartnick, these actions are helping to preserve water resources. “Since 1998, citrus growers have led the way in converting their irrigation to more efficient (low-volume) systems, and in embracing new nutrient management strategies that include the use of variable rate fertilizer spreaders and more precise fertigation,” he says. “All of these actions are BMPs.”

Boman notes that enrollment in citrus BMPs is already high, but there are still growers out there that need to join, particularly some of the smaller farms or those run by absentee land owners.

BMP Benefits

For those holding out on participating in the BMP program, here are a few benefits of the program:

  • Some BMPs increase production efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Growers will receive technical assistance when implementing BMPs on the farm. 
  • There are cost-share opportunities to help growers implement certain BMPs. 
  • Growers have a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards for the pollutants addressed by the BMPs. Even if EPA’s controversial numeric nutrient criteria becomes part of state standards, producers who enroll in and implement the BMPs still have the presumption of compliance.
Topics:

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
GenNext Growers
October 21, 2017
Young Grower Alliance to Host Tour
Young growers will see farm marketing, diversified plantings, hard cider varieties, and more. Read More
Nuts
October 21, 2017
Use the Off-Season to Your Orchard’s Advantage
While the hard work of harvest is over, there are still many tasks that can help you get a jump on the next growing season. Read More
Facebook promo at Flamingo Road
GenNext Growers
October 21, 2017
5 Ways to Double Your Farm’s Revenue Using Facebook
This handful of helpful suggestions might have you loving what it does for your operation's bottom line. Read More
orange juice in a glass
Citrus
October 20, 2017
Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or Half Full?
There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. Read More
Events
October 20, 2017
Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You [Opinion]
It’s an opportunity to fine-tune your operation and maximize profits, but it also brings obligations. Read More
Blue Heron Nurseries greenhouses post-Irma
Varieties & Rootstocks
October 20, 2017
Taking Stock of Florida Citrus After the Storm
Extraordinary times call for industrywide cooperation and partnerships. Read More
Citrus stew courtesy of Irma
Citrus
October 19, 2017
Disaster Relief: Ways Florida Growers Can Find Farm Aid
With billions of dollars lost to Irma, financial assistance will be crucial for many. Read More
Fruits
October 19, 2017
New Online Tool Helps Growers Determine Need for Groundwater Recharge
California Land Use Viewer can help growers determine if they can adopt groundwater recharge practices on their own operations. Read More
subirrigation implementation
Irrigation
October 19, 2017
Northeast Florida Farmers Stepping up to Save Water
Green light given to nine agricultural projects steeped in stewardship. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
The 2018 State of the Vegetable Industry Survey Is Now Open!
How has this year performed for you? Share how things have gone this year – and your expectations for 2018 – in our shorter, more focused survey. Read More
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
Stop Viewing Fellow Growers as the Enemy [Opinion]
Instead, growers should focus on issues that benefit everyone, from gaining a stronger voice when negotiating with retailers, to finding a way to share ideas and costs on precision agriculture tools. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hurricane-Stricken Florida Farmers
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Fruits
October 17, 2017
Hirst Named American Society of Horticultural Science Fellow
Honor was presented during society’s annual meeting. Read More
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-Related Herbicide Injury
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
The Latest
GenNext Growers
October 21, 2017
Young Grower Alliance to Host Tour
Young growers will see farm marketing, diversified plantings, hard cider varieties, and more. Read More
Nuts
October 21, 2017
Use the Off-Season to Your Orchard’s Adv…
While the hard work of harvest is over, there are still many tasks that can help you get a jump on the next growing season. Read More
GenNext Growers
October 21, 2017
5 Ways to Double Your Farm’s Reven…
This handful of helpful suggestions might have you loving what it does for your operation's bottom line. Read More
Citrus
October 20, 2017
Is Your Orange Juice Glass Half Empty or…
There is strong-willed — some might even say stubborn — blood flowing through the veins of Florida growers. Read More
Events
October 20, 2017
Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming t…
It’s an opportunity to fine-tune your operation and maximize profits, but it also brings obligations. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
October 20, 2017
Taking Stock of Florida Citrus After the…
Extraordinary times call for industrywide cooperation and partnerships. Read More
Citrus
October 19, 2017
Disaster Relief: Ways Florida Growers Ca…
With billions of dollars lost to Irma, financial assistance will be crucial for many. Read More
Fruits
October 19, 2017
New Online Tool Helps Growers Determine …
California Land Use Viewer can help growers determine if they can adopt groundwater recharge practices on their own operations. Read More
Irrigation
October 19, 2017
Northeast Florida Farmers Stepping up to…
Green light given to nine agricultural projects steeped in stewardship. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
The 2018 State of the Vegetable Industry…
How has this year performed for you? Share how things have gone this year – and your expectations for 2018 – in our shorter, more focused survey. Read More
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Vegetables
October 18, 2017
Stop Viewing Fellow Growers as the Enemy…
Instead, growers should focus on issues that benefit everyone, from gaining a stronger voice when negotiating with retailers, to finding a way to share ideas and costs on precision agriculture tools. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hur…
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Fruits
October 17, 2017
Hirst Named American Society of Horticul…
Honor was presented during society’s annual meeting. Read More
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-…
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
October 16, 2017
New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide Released by…
Grapple herbicide works on pre- and post-emergent weeds in orchards and vineyards. Read More
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall…
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Fruits
October 14, 2017
USDA Seeks Applications for Next Round o…
SCRI grants to total $48 million for 2018 fiscal year. Read More