For a milestone 20th year, water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area achieved phosphorus reductions that significantly exceed those required by Florida's Everglades Forever Act.
Implementation of improved farming techniques under the SFWMD's Source Control Permitting Program have resulted in an overall average annual phosphorus reduction of 56 percent – more than twice the 25 percent required by law.
Agriculture is the second largest industry in Florida. Each year, farms, ranches, nurseries and other agricultural businesses contribute significantly to our region's economy.
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has a dedicated work group of individuals with agricultural backgrounds and experience – known as the AgTeam – to support ranchers and growers with their water resource-related questions and concerns. The District's Agricultural Water Programs provide regulatory, planning and technical assistance, along with implementing collaborative Dispersed Water Management projects designed to help achieve regional water resource goals.
Best Management Practices
Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical, cost-effective actions that agricultural businesses can use to reduce pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste and other pollutants entering our water resources.
BMPs are designed to protect or improve water quality while maintaining or even enhancing agricultural production.
Three coordinating agencies – the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the SFWMD – develop and adopt BMPs by rule for different types of agricultural operations.
This coordinated permit review process gives ranchers and growers a single point of contact for information when they have more than one application under review. AgTeam members are available at the Okeechobee Service Center, agency headquarters in West Palm Beach and the District's other regulatory service centers to better provide local assistance throughout the process. more »
The District's Dispersed Water Management Program is an effort to work cooperatively with public, private and tribal landowners to keep excess storm water on the landscape for cost-effective flood control and environmental benefits and to help support the agricultural economy. Primary program components include cost-share/cooperative agreements, Payment for Environmental Services contract opportunities and easement coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). more »
The SFWMD's leasing program assists the agency in managing lands acquired for water management purposes or for ecosystem restoration prior to project implementation. The District provides a searchable database with a variety of information about each of its leased properties. more »
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
FDACS promotes Florida agriculture, fosters innovation in energy development, manages the state's forest resources and safeguards consumers. The agency's Office of Agricultural Water Policy is involved in the development of BMPs, addressing both water quality and water conservation on a site-specific, regional and watershed basis, such as implementation of the federal Clean Water Act's TMDL requirements for agriculture. Also, the office has binding authority to determine if an agricultural activity is exempt from an environmental resource permit.
Florida's Water Management Districts
All of Florida's water management districts work with the agricultural community to improve efficiencies and protect natural systems. For information about agricultural resources in one of Florida's other districts, visit the following: