Politics of Water Addressed at Expo

Jim Rogers Citrus Expo, Nutrition, Water

Citrus growers have been watching developments with water regulation closely in recent years. The 2022 Florida legislative session addressed some issues that had developed with the state’s best management practices (BMPs) program. Ernie Barnett, president of the Florida Land Council, gave Citrus & Specialty Crop Expo attendees a recap of the BMPs changes and provided a big-picture perspective of the …

Water Shortage Is Latest Texas Citrus Concern

Jim Rogers Texas, Water

A little more than 20 inches of rain has fallen on Dale Murden’s Texas grapefruit grove in 2022 — “about average for the year,” he says. But the majority of Texas is in severe drought, and that poses problems for Murden and other Texas growers, especially for the future. “We just are not seeing any rain or significant inflows in …

How to Manage Salt Stress in Citrus Groves

Jim Rogers soil, Tip of the Week, Water

By Amir Rezazadeh Saline soil and water damage many citrus groves in Florida. In general, when the dissolved salt concentration in soil or water increases, it is referred to as “saline” soil or water. But how much increase in salt concentration makes soil or water saline? Citrus plants’ major reactions to excessive salt in the soil or water are reduced …

New Water School to Open at Florida Gulf Coast University

Tacy Callies Education, Water

Florida’s seashores, lakes, rivers and springs make it a unique spot in the world. In Southwest Florida, water is an area of intense focus in recent years as various sectors work to protect the resource. Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Myers, has established The Water School, recognizing the critical role water plays in the region. A new 114,000-square-foot teaching …

FFAA Conference Takes Up Nutrient and Water-Quality Issues

Tacy Callies BMPs, Events, Water

Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association members gathered in Palm Beach recently for the organization’s annual conference. The status of nutrient regulations and water-quality issues were at the top of the agenda for the group. Ernie Barnett, Florida Land Council president, addressed those issues during the conference. He has been involved with water issues in the state for more than 30 …

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 …