Clean Water is Worth the Fight for Florida Farmers
In his first week in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) unveiled his initial battle plans in the war against red tide and harmful algal blooms. In his “Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment” executive order, DeSantis called on his troops — the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Health, Visit Florida, and the Department of Economic Opportunity. His objective for Florida: “Rapid improvement for water quality, quantity, and supply.”
Among other things, DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12 calls for:
- $2.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources
- Establishing a Blue-Green Algae Task Force to work on reducing the adverse impacts of blue-green algal blooms now and over the next five years
- Creating an Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency
- Appointing a Chief Science Officer
- Expediting key Everglades projects
- Working with the South Florida Water Management District to add stormwater treatment to the C-43 Reservoir
- Directing the DEP to establish a septic conversion and remediation grant program with a local government match requirement
- Instructing all five water management districts to review budgets and prioritize available funding to focus on projects that will help address harmful algal blooms and maximize nutrient reductions
- Participating in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force
- Continuing DEP’s red tide emergency grant program to support local governments to clean up their beaches and coastal areas to minimize the impacts of red tide to residents and visitors
Not to be overlooked, as battle plans evolve, is the role Florida’s agriculture industries can play in this fight for a healthier environment.
Florida’s ag interests also want clean water. Our strategy to winning this war includes nutrient stewardship plans, implemented with precision yet flexible enough to adapt as conditions warrant.
Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association is working with its members and other stakeholders on a Florida 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program — an initiative aimed at encouraging agricultural retailers, service providers, and other certified professionals to adopt proven best practices through the 4Rs. The 4R concept, developed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute, Fertilizer Canada, and The Fertilizer Institute, refers to using the Right source of nutrients at the Right rate and Right time in the Right place.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program requires independent third-party audits of nutrient service providers ensuring compliance with the program’s requirements for training, continuing education, and professionalism in nutrient recommendations and applications.
Copies of the plans for this program are available — and feedback/comments are welcomed — by emailing [email protected] with your request.
Let’s rally and win this war for clean water and a sound environment.