Everglades Project Pays Off For Florida Farmers  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $100 million in financial assistance to acquire permanent easements from eligible landowners in four counties and assist with wetland restoration on nearly 24,000 acres of agricultural land in the Northern Everglades Watershed. The wetland restoration will reduce the amount of surface water leaving the land, slowing water runoff and the concentration of nutrients entering the public water management system and ultimately Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. This is the largest amount of funding Florida has ever received for projects in the same watershed through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) in a single year.

“Protecting and restoring the Northern Everglades is critical not just to Floridians, but to all Americans,” said Vilsack.

Vilsack also participated in a signing ceremony with A.J. Suarez of Hendry County Nursery Farms-a landowner who will benefit from the funding. Suarez signed an agreement with USDA to start the process to acquire the easement rights to 3,782 acres. 

Under WRP, landowners sell development rights to land and place it in a conservation easement that permanently maintains that land as agriculture and open space. USDA plans to purchase these permanent easements from eligible private landowners and assist with wetland restoration in Glades, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee Counties. The easements will contribute to the connection of public and private lands and help form a conservation corridor from the Kissimmee River to Everglades National Park.

“Agriculture plays an integral role in the restoration of wetlands in the Northern Everglades,” said FDACS Commissioner Adam Putnam. “Agricultural lands have some of the greatest natural resources of any private lands in Florida. The open space allows them to protect ground- and surfacewater resources and preserve critical habitat for endangered and threatened species, while remaining working agricultural lands. USDA’s commitment to the Wetlands Restoration Program (WRP) will enable Florida agriculture to continue its important efforts to enhance the natural resources of the Northern Everglades Watershed.”

USDA continues to demonstrate its commitment to restoring the Northern Everglades through increased financial and technical assistance to landowners. USDA has provided a total of $189 million in WRP funding during the past two fiscal years to help farmers protect and restore wetlands in the Northern Everglades. Last fiscal year, USDA obligated $89 million through WRP to acquire easements on almost 26,000 acres of land in the Fisheating Creek Watershed, located in remote Highlands County. Four landowners on five adjoining ranches enrolled the nearly 26,000 acres into the program, making it one of the largest contiguous easement acquisitions in WRP’s history. An additional 12,000 acres were acquired through WRP in other counties, bringing the total potential acres acquired since 2010 to more than 60,000.

For information visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

Source: USDA

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Opportunity
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
VegetablesReed’s Seeds Showcases Their Latest Vegetable Variety Offerings
December 17, 2014
For more information, contact: Reed’s Seeds 3334 NYS 215 Cortland, NY 13045 607-753-9095; fax: 607-753-9511 rsjackie@twcny.rr.com Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
Apples & PearsNovember Cold May Hurt Washington Orchards
December 17, 2014
But it’s too early to tell if well-below-normal temperatures will increase tree mortality. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Lose Trees In Storm
December 17, 2014
Last week’s welcome rains in California knocked down trees, especially older ones. Read More
NutsAlmond Conference Draws Record Attendance
December 17, 2014
Nearly 3,000 industry professionals attend 42nd annual event in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateManage HLB From The Bottom Up
December 17, 2014
Finding the right balance between the roots and shoots is critical to disease mitigation. Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Seedway
December 17, 2014
As part of American Vegetable Grower’s (AVG) 2014 variety trial coverage, we visited Seedway’s seed trial at Spiral Path Organic Farm in Loysville, Read More
OrganicUSDA Proposes Expansion Of Organic Assessment Exemption
December 17, 2014
Action would increase the entities exempt from paying assessments for promotion programs on products certified as “organic” or “100% organic.” Read More

The Latest

CitrusSouthwest Florida Citrus Bus Tour Yields Learning Oppor…
December 18, 2014
Find out what Florida Grower editor Frank Giles saw and heard during Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association's annual outing. Read More
Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
VegetablesReed’s Seeds Showcases Their Latest Vegetable Var…
December 17, 2014
For more information, contact: Reed’s Seeds 3334 NYS 215 Cortland, NY 13045 607-753-9095; fax: 607-753-9511 rsjackie@twcny.rr.com Read More
CitrusStudy: Florida Citrus Valued At More Than $10 Billion
December 17, 2014
Industry continues to have large impact on the state’s economy. Read More
Apples & PearsNovember Cold May Hurt Washington Orchards
December 17, 2014
But it’s too early to tell if well-below-normal temperatures will increase tree mortality. Read More
NutsAlmond Growers Lose Trees In Storm
December 17, 2014
Last week’s welcome rains in California knocked down trees, especially older ones. Read More
NutsAlmond Conference Draws Record Attendance
December 17, 2014
Nearly 3,000 industry professionals attend 42nd annual event in Sacramento, CA. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateManage HLB From The Bottom Up
December 17, 2014
Finding the right balance between the roots and shoots is critical to disease mitigation. Read More
VegetablesVariety Trials 2014: Seedway
December 17, 2014
As part of American Vegetable Grower’s (AVG) 2014 variety trial coverage, we visited Seedway’s seed trial at Spiral Path Organic Farm in Loysville, Read More
OrganicUSDA Proposes Expansion Of Organic Assessment Exemption
December 17, 2014
Action would increase the entities exempt from paying assessments for promotion programs on products certified as “organic” or “100% organic.” Read More
MarketingThe U.S. Potato Board Receives $5 Million In Funding To…
December 17, 2014
The funds will be used to help increase consumption of frozen, dehydrated, chip stock, table stock and seed potatoes around the world. Read More
ProductionNational Vegetable Grafting Symposium To Take Place Jan…
December 17, 2014
The third grafting symposium, Growing New Roots for the Vegetable Industry in the U.S., will be held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in Savannah, GA. Read More
VegetablesOutstanding Seed Co. LLC, Showcases Their Latest Vegeta…
December 16, 2014
For more information, please contact: Outstanding Seed Company, LLC P.O Box 202 Monaca, PA 15061 877-248-4567; fax: 724-775-1644 outstandingseed.com Read More
VegetablesJohnny’s Selected Seeds Showcases Their Latest Ve…
December 16, 2014
For more information, please contact: Johnny’s Selected Seeds 955 Benton Ave. Winslow, ME 04901 877-564-6697; fax: 800-738-6314 johnnyseeds.com Read More
Apples & PearsFour Highlights You May Have Missed At Great Lakes Expo
December 16, 2014
Record-setting crowd sat in on presentations featuring precision orchard management, mechanical berry harvesters, biocontrols, and more. Read More
FruitsGrower Input Needed For Spotted Wing Drosophila Survey
December 16, 2014
Results of stakeholder needs survey helps prioritize research and education activities. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vege…
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
Crop ProtectionFine Americas Bolsters Technical, Sales Force
December 16, 2014
Plant growth regulator company adds two industry veterans to enhance agriculture, ornamental, and landscape business. Read More