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
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Greening
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orchards
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungicide
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award Recipient
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Honor To One Of Its Own
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Production Challenges
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
The Latest
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Gree…
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orcha…
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungi…
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award …
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Ho…
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Produ…
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
Business PlanningBe Food Safety Recall-Ready [Opinion]
August 31, 2015
No one ever wants to make someone sick after consuming fresh produce, but in spite of the protocols in place, recallls happen and you must be prepared. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainable Options For Controlling Brown Marmorated St…
August 31, 2015
A researcher from Rutgers University offers pointers to help you control this pest of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall …
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More
CitrusWhole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance To Be Available…
August 31, 2015
USDA offers greater flexibility for beginning, organic and fruit and vegetable growers. Read More
Cucurbits8 Must-Have Melons
August 31, 2015
This month’s variety specs feature focuses on the latest cantaloupe and melon varieties. Some of the features highlighted include disease Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
CitrusClear Up Misconceptions About Water Use In Ag
August 31, 2015
Those in the industry need to to clear up misconceptions about water use in agriculture. Read More
FruitsNew Airless Tire For Center Pivots
August 31, 2015
Aperture design provides flexibility over ridges to help prevent overloading of the drive train. Read More