The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) recently issued an emergency rule allowing growers enrolled in best management practices (BMP) programs to apply replacement fertilizer to reestablish crops impacted by Hurricane Ian. Under the rule, producers can make those applications without fear of being out of compliance with their respective BMP manuals.
The emergency rule will be in effect until Feb. 19, 2023, and is applicable to applications made between Oct. 1, 2022, and the rule expiration date.
The emergency rule is applicable to counties that encountered Category 1-4 strength hurricane force winds and/or received rainfall that exceeded either 3 inches in three days or 4 inches in seven days as a direct result of Hurricane Ian. These counties include Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia.
FDACS recommends that producers conduct soil testing to confirm the need for replacement fertilizer prior to any applications. In addition to records required by department rule, growers applying replacement fertilizer, pursuant to this rule, shall maintain all application and soil testing records.
In October, the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) submitted a letter to Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried requesting a six-month moratorium on BMP Implementation Verification (BMP IV) site visits and a fertilizer application exemption for impacted producers. The recent emergency rule follows an emergency order issued by FDACS earlier this month temporarily suspending the requirement for BMP IV visits to the counties most heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian. Read more on the suspension.
Sources: FDACS and FFVA
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