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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …

florida all

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 …


Soil and Water pH Play a Key Part in Nutrition

Tacy Callies Nutrition, Water

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 …


Lake Okeechobee Levels Rising; Discharges to Increase

Daniel Cooper Water

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 …


Lake Okeechobee Brouhaha Heats Up

Daniel Cooper Water

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 …


Executive Resigns, Politics Exposed at SFWMD Board Meeting

Daniel Cooper Water

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 …

agricultural engineer

Ag Engineer Joins UF Scientists to Restore Grapefruit Industry

Daniel Cooper Research, Water

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 …


Florida Ag Water Challenges

Ernie Neff Citrus Expo, 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 …

California Citrus Mutual Opposes Water Board Proposal

Len Wilcox California Corner, Water

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 …


Hurricane Damage Reports Needed from Citrus Growers

Tacy Callies Citrus, Legislative, Water

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 …

Impact of the Water Bill on BMP Implementation     

Kelsey Fry Irrigation, 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 …