Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Legislation to Expedite Water Quality Improvements

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release, Water

water quality

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced proposed legislation for the 2020 legislative session that will expedite water quality improvements throughout Florida. The legislation incorporates recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, which the governor created shortly after taking office to aid the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in protecting, conserving and managing the state’s natural resources. The governor made today’s announcement following … Read More

Stormwater System Inspections Extended Until 2025

Daniel CooperIndustry News Release, Water

stormwater

As part of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Citrus Task Force initiative, the requirement for formal recertification of permitted agricultural stormwater management systems has been extended until 2025. The permittee is still responsible for periodically inspecting the system to ensure it is functioning as permitted and designed. This action was requested by stakeholders interviewed by the task force … Read More

Water Issues: Ag Has Allies

Ernie NeffCitrus Expo, Water

“I think that the ag industry has a number of allies within the regulatory arena,” says Rich Budell, who moderated a panel of Florida regulators at Citrus Expo. Budell, now a consultant, spent 31 years working on water issues with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The panelists were Chris Pettit, director of agricultural water policy at … Read More

Meetings on Algae, Citrus and Water Management Ring Alarms for Florida Agriculture

Daniel CooperAgriculture, Citrus, Irrigation, Water

meetings

Three meetings this week in three different areas of the state brought more discussion that should wake up producers and others in agriculture who have remained mostly silent for decades. As the state’s population continues to swell by a 1,000 new residents each day, Florida’s population will likely exceed 22-million next year. As the nation’s third most populous state, there’s … Read More

Saving Citrus Growers Time and Money

Tacy CalliesWater

citrus

Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Citrus Task Force aims to improve grower services. With the citrus industry facing challenges due to hurricanes, greening and reduced production, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is working to improve services and business processes for citrus industry customers. SOLICITING FEEDBACKThat’s why District Executive Director Brian Armstrong formed the Citrus Task Force. It’s an … Read More

Soil and Water pH Play a Key Part in Nutrition

Tacy CalliesNutrition, Water

soil

By Tripti Vashisth, Davie Kadyampakeni and Lushan Ghimire In the past few years, horticultural citrus grove management practices have changed significantly in Florida. It is a common observation across the state that huanglongbing (HLB)-affected trees respond well to complete and balanced nutrition programs. Therefore, citrus growers are currently focusing on intensive management of irrigation and nutrition. HLB-affected trees suffer a … Read More

Lake Okeechobee Levels Rising; Discharges to Increase

Daniel CooperWater

rising

Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Colonel Drew Kelly, commander of the Jacksonville District, held a media conference call on Feb. 22 to explain a change to the discharge schedules for Lake Okeechobee, as water levels are rising in the lake. Listen to the audio clip below to hear the entire press conference, including questions from South Florida media and Southeast … Read More

Lake Okeechobee Brouhaha Heats Up

Daniel CooperWater

rising

by Gary Cooper The series of public meetings about Lake Okeechobee water levels and related issues continues this week in South Florida, hosted by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to last-minute media announcements this morning, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL 18th District), is expected to attend the first of two public meetings today at 1:00 p.m. at Indian River … Read More

Executive Resigns, Politics Exposed at SFWMD Board Meeting

Daniel CooperWater

sfwmd

Soon-to-exit South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) governing board members offered parting comments at the SFWMD governing board meeting in West Palm Beach. The entire board was asked to resign and put under pressure to do so by Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Florida Congressman Brian Mast, who is advising the governor on agricultural and environmental issues. The resignations were … Read More

Ag Engineer Joins UF Scientists to Restore Grapefruit Industry

Daniel CooperResearch, Water

agricultural engineer

An agricultural engineer whose current research projects include the simulation of agricultural management impacts on water quantity and quality in the upper Floridan aquifer has joined the University of Florida’s Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC). Sandra Guzmán will lead the center’s irrigation and hydrology program. Guzmán started her position as an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering … Read More

Florida Ag Water Challenges

Ernie NeffCitrus Expo, Water

water

At the Citrus Expo general session in August, Rich Budell of the Budell Water Group addressed water supply and quality challenges facing Florida agriculture. He summarizes some of the eye-opening statistics he presented. Budell says in a part of Central Florida, the 20-year water demand is estimated to be 250 million gallons per day more than what the anticipated natural … Read More

California Citrus Mutual Opposes Water Board Proposal

Len WilcoxWater

California Citrus Mutual (CCM) joined with several other associations to oppose major changes proposed by the State Water Resources Control Board set to be adopted for the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition. The affected agricultural community and water quality coalitions expect the board to adopt the proposed revisions without substantial modifications at its Jan. 23 meeting. CCM and other … Read More

Hurricane Damage Reports Needed from Citrus Growers

Tacy CalliesCitrus, Legislative, Water

scott

Mike Sparks, executive vice president/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, reports that his association is working with state and federal officials on a financial assistance program to support losses to the Florida citrus crop from Hurricane Irma. “We have been in constant communication with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), as well as the Florida Department of Citrus … Read More

Impact of the Water Bill on BMP Implementation     

Kelsey FryIrrigation, Water

By Kelly Morgan Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients for plants and animals and are the limiting nutrients in aquatic environments. The correct balance of both nutrients is necessary for a healthy ecosystem; however, excessive nitrogen and/or phosphorus can cause significant water-quality problems. Typically, nitrogen is the limiting nutrient in spring and surface water systems. Therefore, even modest increases in … Read More

Bucks Toward BMPs

Kelsey FryWater

Cost-share assistance is available from several sources for growers looking to implement improvements to best management practices. By Tacy Callies The names of the organizations and programs that provide funding to Florida citrus growers for best management practices (BMPs) projects — SWFWMD, FARMS, EQIP, etc. — can sound like a big bowl of alphabet soup. But in reality, they represent … Read More

Getting Water pH Correct in the Face of HLB

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, HLB Management, Irrigation, Water

Research

University of Florida (UF) researcher Kelly Morgan discusses a study of how citrus growers are adjusting irrigation water pH levels, and what pH levels seem to work best. The acid level of citrus irrigation water has become an important consideration since HLB was discovered in Florida groves in 2005. “Jim Graham (a fellow UF researcher) has been conducting a survey … Read More

New Peace River Executive Discusses Citrus Issues

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, Research, Water

Greening

Steve Smith became executive director of the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association (PRVCGA) in early March. He discusses some of the issues the association will address. “Obviously the research is a major focus right now with greening. That’s at the top of everybody’s list, trying to find some solutions.” Water issues historically have been a major focus for the … Read More

What Growers Need to Know About BMPs Now

Ernie NeffCitrus, Water

Research

Virtually all Florida citrus growers have signed up to participate in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) best management practices (BMPs) for water quality and water quantity. “They’ve done an extremely good job over the last 20 years that we’ve had BMPs,” says University of Florida researcher Kelly Morgan, the statewide BMP coordinator. “The (state) water act … Read More

Importance of Leaf Tissue and Water Analysis

Ernie NeffCitrus, Water

citrus greening

Oscar Ruiz with Waypoint Analytical discusses the importance of leaf tissue and water analysis. “Leaf tissue analysis is important because we can actually gauge in-season what the plant is capable of uptaking,” he says. That information, along with information garnered from soil sampling, allows the grower to “fine tune the fertility program and adjust it accordingly,” he says. “I recommend … Read More

Citrus Grower: Tree Replant Incentives Are Beneficial

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Irrigation, Water

Replant incentives

State and federal programs giving citrus growers incentives to replant and a state program designed to eliminate abandoned groves were discussed at a November 1 workshop in Lakeland. The program was hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual. Grower James “Hoss” Morgan, procurement director for Wm. G. Roe & Sons, Inc., likes the programs. “All three of these are very beneficial if … Read More