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
Specialty potato varieties for Florida growers
Potatoes
April 30, 2017
Hot Potato Trends on Front Burner for Florida Growers
Annual UF/IFAS field day digs into the latest research and comes up with appealing solutions. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2017
BASF Adds Pest, Crop, Weather Modeling to Agricultural Intelligence Portfolio
ZedX’s agronomic models help farmers make better production decisions. Read More
Port Of Miami shipyard
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe into Unfair Trade Tactics
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Stone Fruit
April 29, 2017
Challenging Cherry Disease Keeps Growers, Researchers on Their Toes
With a few years of experience with more is understood about little cherry disease, however, few unknowns remain. Read More
Crop Protection
April 29, 2017
BioSafe Systems Introduces Broad-Spectrum Bactericide Fungicide for Specialty Crops
Alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur for tree and vine crops. Read More
a group of ripe strawberries
Citrus
April 28, 2017
EPA Approves New Plant Growth Stimulant
RIO from Arysta LifeScience North America is labeled for use on citrus, vegetables, tree fruit, strawberries, grapes, and nuts. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Ag Labor: An Old Challenge with New Wrinkles
A new administration brings uncertainty, but change could be coming. Until then, here’s what you can do. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Don’t Miss the Ripple Effect of Ag Labor
When addressing the topic of ag labor, don’t ignore the ancillary benefits each agriculture job supports. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Organic Farms Continue To Grow
The 13% increase from 2015 to 2016 marks the highest growth rate in nearly 10 years. Read More
citrus psyllid closeup
Citrus
April 27, 2017
The California Citrus Grower Defines Leadership
While HLB wreaked havoc elsewhere, the California citrus industry came together and formed an action plan. Read More
Nuts
April 27, 2017
Keep an Eye Out for Phytophthora in Your Nut Orchard
After several years of drought conditions, increased water salinity, and a wet winter, your nut orchard may be more susceptible to root rot than you think. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 26, 2017
Debunking the Myth of Calcium and Fruit Quality
Nutrient management and crop quality clearly go hand in hand. But not always in the ways you might think. In Read More
Crop Protection
April 26, 2017
A Guide to Experts Tips on Vegetable Insect Pests
Here's a resource to quickly reach advice on how to handle insect pests in most regions of the U.S. Read More
The Latest
Potatoes
April 30, 2017
Hot Potato Trends on Front Burner for Fl…
Annual UF/IFAS field day digs into the latest research and comes up with appealing solutions. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2017
BASF Adds Pest, Crop, Weather Modeling t…
ZedX’s agronomic models help farmers make better production decisions. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Stone Fruit
April 29, 2017
Challenging Cherry Disease Keeps Growers…
With a few years of experience with more is understood about little cherry disease, however, few unknowns remain. Read More
Crop Protection
April 29, 2017
BioSafe Systems Introduces Broad-Spectru…
Alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur for tree and vine crops. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2017
EPA Approves New Plant Growth Stimulant
RIO from Arysta LifeScience North America is labeled for use on citrus, vegetables, tree fruit, strawberries, grapes, and nuts. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Ag Labor: An Old Challenge with New Wrin…
A new administration brings uncertainty, but change could be coming. Until then, here’s what you can do. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Don’t Miss the Ripple Effect of Ag…
When addressing the topic of ag labor, don’t ignore the ancillary benefits each agriculture job supports. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Organic Farms Continue To Grow
The 13% increase from 2015 to 2016 marks the highest growth rate in nearly 10 years. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
The California Citrus Grower Defines Lea…
While HLB wreaked havoc elsewhere, the California citrus industry came together and formed an action plan. Read More
Nuts
April 27, 2017
Keep an Eye Out for Phytophthora in Your…
After several years of drought conditions, increased water salinity, and a wet winter, your nut orchard may be more susceptible to root rot than you think. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 26, 2017
Debunking the Myth of Calcium and Fruit …
Nutrient management and crop quality clearly go hand in hand. But not always in the ways you might think. In Read More
Crop Protection
April 26, 2017
A Guide to Experts Tips on Vegetable Ins…
Here's a resource to quickly reach advice on how to handle insect pests in most regions of the U.S. Read More
Berries
April 26, 2017
Tips To Manage Winter-Damaged Blueberrie…
While low-chill varieties in Southern states may have experienced freeze damage for the second year in a row, giving those plants extra care will help ensure a good start to the 2018 growing season. Read More
Potatoes
April 25, 2017
Frustrated by Overwintering Culls and Vo…
It sometimes seems that culls and volunteers survive even winter conditions, while your desired crop needs coddling. Taking a look at how feral potatoes behave will give you insights that will help you get the results you need for your crop. Read More
Pest Control
April 25, 2017
How to Manage Three Key Potato Pests
Learn identification and control strategies to protect your crop. Read More