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
Photo credit: USDA
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
Department Of Justice To Investigate Dole Over Listeria Outbreak In Packaged Salads
Salad mix packaged at the company’s Ohio facility has been connected to four deaths. Read More
Florida Everglades swamp shot at sunset
Citrus
May 2, 2016
As Hurricane Season Nears, South Florida Going Dry
All basins around the region experience rainfall deficits during April as totals fall far below average. Read More
Harvesting Tips At Kuhn Orchards
Equipment
May 2, 2016
USDA Offers New Loans For Portable Farm Storage, Handling Equipment
Portable equipment can help producers, including small and local farmers, get products to market quickly. Read More
Contour Farming
Vegetables
May 2, 2016
The Importance Of Producing Crops On Well-Managed Cropland
Many farmland protection options and tools have been suggested and used in efforts to slow the rate of farmland losses around the country. Read More
Photo credit: USDA
Leafy Vegetables
May 2, 2016
Electronic Eye Detects Decay Inside Bagged Lettuce
Researchers develop a way to help select breeding lines that will yield cut lettuce with a longer shelflife. Read More
(Photo credit: USDA via Almond Board of California)
Nuts
May 2, 2016
California Almond Acreage Up 6%
The increase follows a trend in which acreage has doubled in the last 20 years. Read More
The farmers market at the play market at Meadows Maze at Hopcott Farm
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolkit
For urban farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, the toolkit is an electronic document that helps users navigate more than 70 resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. Read More
Cucumber---Bristol_web
Cucurbits
May 2, 2016
13 Of The Latest Cucumber Varieties
Check out this slideshow for more details on 13 cucumber varieties you need to know about from the nation’s leading seed breeders and Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
Choosing the right fungicide can be critical as shown here by the stark contrast between a fungicide-treated garlic leaf (right) and an untreated leaf covered with a pathogenic rust fungus.
Photo credit: S. T. Koike
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The Job
Fungicide application is one tool of a successful IPM program for crop diseases. Used judiciously and appropriately, these chemicals are powerful allies in the fight against the fungi and bacteria that attack crops. Read More
The Latest
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
Department Of Justice To Investigate Dol…
Salad mix packaged at the company’s Ohio facility has been connected to four deaths. Read More
Citrus
May 2, 2016
As Hurricane Season Nears, South Florida…
All basins around the region experience rainfall deficits during April as totals fall far below average. Read More
Equipment
May 2, 2016
USDA Offers New Loans For Portable Farm …
Portable equipment can help producers, including small and local farmers, get products to market quickly. Read More
Vegetables
May 2, 2016
The Importance Of Producing Crops On Wel…
Many farmland protection options and tools have been suggested and used in efforts to slow the rate of farmland losses around the country. Read More
Leafy Vegetables
May 2, 2016
Electronic Eye Detects Decay Inside Bagg…
Researchers develop a way to help select breeding lines that will yield cut lettuce with a longer shelflife. Read More
Nuts
May 2, 2016
California Almond Acreage Up 6%
The increase follows a trend in which acreage has doubled in the last 20 years. Read More
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolk…
For urban farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, the toolkit is an electronic document that helps users navigate more than 70 resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. Read More
Cucurbits
May 2, 2016
13 Of The Latest Cucumber Varieties
Check out this slideshow for more details on 13 cucumber varieties you need to know about from the nation’s leading seed breeders and Read More
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The…
Fungicide application is one tool of a successful IPM program for crop diseases. Used judiciously and appropriately, these chemicals are powerful allies in the fight against the fungi and bacteria that attack crops. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 30, 2016
Young Growers The Focus Of Industry Prog…
The next generation in the tree fruit industry getting support of leading industry organizations. Read More
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Be…
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Mark…
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Who’s Using Biocontrols, And Who I…
With so many consumers concerned about how food is grown, many farm marketers find themselves in the unexpected role of Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure …
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On So…
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]