Update from the Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP)

Agriculture Industry Accomplishments to date include:

  • Almost 3 million acres of Ag lands statewide are now enrolled in BMP programs
  • 826,840 acres of Ag lands were enrolled in BMP programs in FY 2010-11
  • Results of the OAWP’s BMP Implementation Assurance program to follow up on the operation and maintenance of BMP showed that:  vegetable and row crop growers who responded to a survey collectively are implementing close to 100% of the surveyed BMPs applicable to their operations;  in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed, 83% of the 41 operations visited received an overall Satisfactory rating on nutrient management, irrigation management, and structural BMPs; in the Suwannee River basin, more than 90% of the 123 dairy and poultry operations visited received a Satisfactory rating on manure, litter, and/or waste management.
  • As part of the Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL) program in FY 2010-11, producers saved approximately 1 billion gallons of water a year.  Since the program was started, the agriculture industry has saved around 8 billion gallons of water per year.  The cost to conserve water through MIL services and other conservation programs is much cheaper compared to the costs of developing new sources of water like desalination, large water reservoirs, and reclaiming water.

BMP Manuals and Related Voluntary Rules Update

Working with producers, Florida Farm Bureau, other agriculture associations, FDEP,  UF-IFAS, and others, the OAWP has developed BMP Manuals for citrus, , container nurseries, vegetable and agronomic crops, sod, cow-calf, and specialty fruit and nut.  In addition, operations having a current USDA-NRCS conservation plan are eligible to enroll under OAWP’s conservation plan rule.  As you may know, enrolling in and implementing FDACS BMPs gives producers a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.

An update on the latest BMP manuals includes:

  • The Specialty Fruit and Nut Crop BMP manual was adopted by reference in Rule Chapter 5M-13, and took effect on 5/25/11.
  • The Lake Okeechobee rule (Rule Chapter 5M-3) was expanded and renamed to cover the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Area, and took effect on 8/15/11.
  • The Equine BMP manual has received initial verification from FDEP and rulemaking has begun.  The BMP manual will be adopted by reference in Rule Chapter 5M-14, F.A.C., and should go into effect before the end of the 2011 calendar year.
  • A number of BMP manual revisions are underway.  A draft Citrus BMP manual has been developed to consolidate the existing three regional BMP manuals and Ridge Citrus rule into one document.
  • The Container Nursery BMP manual also is being revised to include field-grown nursery stock, ferns, and greenhouse plant production.
  • The Vegetable and Agronomic Crop BMP manual is being revised to include forage grass, and to align the BMPs with the major cultivation or production system types.

For more information about OAWP programs contact Rich Budell, Director or Darrell Smith Assistant Director at 850-675-1700 or visit the OAWP webpage at www.floridawaterpolicy.com

Agriculture Industry Accomplishments to date include:

  • Almost 3 million acres of Ag lands statewide are now enrolled in BMP programs
  • 826,840 acres of Ag lands were enrolled in BMP programs in FY 2010-11
  • Results of the OAWP’s BMP Implementation Assurance program to follow up on the operation and maintenance of BMP showed that:  vegetable and row crop growers who responded to a survey collectively are implementing close to 100% of the surveyed BMPs applicable to their operations;  in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed, 83% of the 41 operations visited received an overall Satisfactory rating on nutrient management, irrigation management, and structural BMPs; in the Suwannee River basin, more than 90% of the 123 dairy and poultry operations visited received a Satisfactory rating on manure, litter, and/or waste management.