Scott Water Farm to Store Water and Improve Its Quality

Jim Rogers Florida, Water

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with state and local officials last month to celebrate the Scott Water Farm. The farm is a public-private partnership with Evans Properties, Inc. in Indian River and Okeechobee counties. Its purpose is to store water and improve water quality. The farm will store more than 9 billion gallons of …

Agricultural Water Use Changes Proposed

Tacy Callies Regulation, Water

Taylor Langford O’Bannon, food safety Extension agent for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), shared information on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule. The changes pertain specifically to Subpart E (Agricultural Water). “The proposed changes, if finalized, will replace the pre-harvest microbial quality criteria and …

Dry Winter Forecast Adds to Water Worries

Tacy Callies California Corner, Water, Weather

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is expecting a dry winter in Southern California. Specifically, it says the El Niño-Southern Oscillation is predicted to be neutral into the fall (51% chance for the August–October season), with La Niña potentially emerging during the September–November season and lasting through the 2021–22 winter (66% chance during November–January). The forecast comes on the …

Dams Needed to Deal With Drought

Len Wilcox California Corner, Water

This year’s La Niña weather event is bringing up bad memories for California citrus growers. The industry suffered during the drought years of 2012 to 2016 and the specter of a repeated drought looms with every dry day. The California Natural Resources Agency addressed drought fears in a recent report prepared by Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the California …

Florida Water Policies for Agriculture

Ashley Robinson Water

Water is the lifeblood of any farming operation. Many involved in the agriculture sector are working to do all they can to help Florida conserve water and make the most of this essential natural resource. Tatiana Borisova, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) water resource economist, gave an overview of the water-quality policies and programs in …

SFWMD Accepting Applications for Cost-Share Water Projects

Tacy Callies Water

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) announced it is accepting applications for cost-share projects to develop alternative water supply projects and water conservation projects. This is part of the state of Florida’s continuing efforts to identify and implement cost-effective strategies to protect its water resources while meeting Florida’s water needs. Partnering with local governments and other entities for implementation …

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Bournique Reappointed to Water Board

Ernie Neff Water

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has reappointed Indian River Citrus League (IRCL) Executive Vice President Doug Bournique to a fourth, four-year term on the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Governing Board. Bournique was first appointed to the SJRWMD board in 2008 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. He was re-appointed by Gov. Rick Scott. Throughout his service on the board, Bournique …

Survey on Water and Technology Use

Ernie Neff Technology, Water

University of Florida (UF) researchers are conducting a survey to study smart agriculture technology acceptance and adoption behavior of Florida specialty crop growers, specifically growers of crops requiring regular irrigation. Adam Watson, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and doctoral candidate Raminder Kaur are requesting the information. The survey requests feedback on growers’ use of …

Growers, NRCS Team Up on Conservation

Ernie Neff Water

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with Florida growers, other landowners and local soil and water districts to implement conservation practices. NRCS offers more than 170 individual practices and suites of practices that can be used to improve soil health, water quality, air quality and wildlife habitat. When planning these practices, NRCS staff helps producers …

Water Is Focus of Together Florida Coalition

Ernie Neff Water

Together Florida, a coalition of primarily agricultural organizations focused on water issues, has launched a website advocating for solutions to harmful algae blooms. The website includes information on algae blooms and best management practices that agriculture employs to conserve water and protect water quality. “Together Florida was created to provide a broad coalition advocating for a comprehensive solution to harmful …

Growers Help Wetlands Thrive

Ernie Neff Industry News Release, Water

May is American Wetlands Month. Farmers, growers, ranchers and private landowners in Florida have worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to create, restore and enhance wetlands for decades. They have incorporated wetlands into their operations for benefits to the environment and their land. To help realize these benefits they have worked with USDA …

Report Calls for Water Reforms to Avert Crisis

Tacy Callies California Corner, Water

California citrus growers may soon face even more water hardships, according to a report by University of California, Berkeley economists David Sunding and David Roland-Holst. The report shows that the lack of responsible, balanced water reforms will lead to the loss of up to 20 percent of today’s working farms. According to data released by California State Assemblyman Jim Patterson, …

California Lawsuit Over Water for Farmers

Tacy Callies California Corner, Water

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has filed a lawsuit to stop the federal government from increasing water deliveries to California farmers, including growers in the citrus regions of Central and Southern California. The increased deliveries are needed to comply with new state requirements to improve groundwater recharge efforts. The increased deliveries came about by changes in biological opinions. Biological opinions are …

Research on Water and Nutrient Retention

Ernie Neff Nutrition, Research, Water

New research is using repurposed straw to create a tool that can help crops retain water and nutrients. Gang Chen, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, led the research. It uses straw left over from processing crops like rice, wheat and corn to produce hydrogels. Hydrogels are molecules that …

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BMPs Discussion Attracts Growers

Ernie Neff Water

A Dec. 16 discussion of local agricultural issues with a focus on best management practices (BMPs) attracted more than 50 attendees to Immokalee. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center hosted the event. Professor and center director Kelly Morgan summarizes the discussions, which he says included “some of the success …

water quality

Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Legislation to Expedite Water Quality Improvements

Daniel Cooper Industry News Release, Water

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 …

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Stormwater System Inspections Extended Until 2025

Daniel Cooper Industry News Release, Water

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 …

Water Issues: Ag Has Allies

Ernie Neff Citrus 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 …

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

Daniel Cooper Agriculture, Citrus, Irrigation, Water

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 …

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Saving Citrus Growers Time and Money

Tacy Callies Water

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 …