BMPs Impacted by New Florida Water Act

Ernie NeffBMPs

Photo courtesy of Southwest Florida Water Management District

Florida’s new Clean Waterways Act impacts agricultural landowners and producers enrolled in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Best Management Practices (BMPs) program. The act went into effect July 1.

FDACS is required to undertake implementation verification (IV) site visits on properties enrolled in the BMP program every two years. During these IV site visits, FDACS Office of Agricultural Water Policy (FDACS/OAWP) representatives will ensure the proper implementation of the applicable BMPs for the enrolled property. They will also review the required records that producers must maintain to demonstrate compliance with the BMPs. 

The law also requires FDACS to retain records related to the application of nitrogen and phosphorus. To accomplish this, FDACS is developing a new nutrient application record form (NARF) to assist enrolled producers in providing the required information. A representative from FDACS/OAWP will contact producers to schedule an IV site visit and collect and retain nutrient application records.

During a scheduled IV site visit, the OAWP representative will need access to soil tests, tissue tests and fertilizer records to be able to determine compliance. This includes all commercial nitrogen and phosphate, organic fertilizer, and the amount applied. Successful completion of an IV site visit ensures proper implementation of applicable BMPs and allows enrolled producers to maintain their presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.

FDACS encourages enrolled producers to maintain their required records in an electronic format, which will allow for greater efficiency in verifying compliance with the BMP requirements. Receipts, invoices and recommendations that substantiate those records should be organized and properly maintained. Producers are additionally encouraged to fill out the electronic version of the NARF provided by a FDACS OAWP representative, or a substantially similar electronic record form providing the same required information. FDACS OAWP is also developing an electronic tool that will aid producers in maintaining the records.

The NARF will be collected by a FDACS OAWP representatives during a scheduled IV site visit. Producers must maintain the NARF and other required records until the time of the IV site visit and as required by the specific BMP manual. Producers are not required to and should not transmit the NARF to FDACS OAWP through either electronic or physical mail.

Learn much more about the requirements of the Clean Waterway Act relating to agriculture, as well as the difference between the FDACS BMP program and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension BMP program.

Source: UF/IFAS

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