Florida Farm Bureau Federation proudly partners with multiple public agencies and private organizations to promote agricultural environmental stewardship statewide. Each partnership serves a specific purpose to advance the mission of the CARES program. Read below to learn about each partnership.
Since its inception, the CARES program has continuously grown into a statewide environmental stewardship recognition program. By creating a position for a full- time CARES Coordinator, Florida Farm Bureau Federation (FFBF) has fully invested in facilitating the CARES program to ultimately honor Florida’s farmers and ranchers. As the voice of agriculture, FFBF is dedicated to telling story of Florida best environmental stewards!
Suwannee River Partnership
In 2001, the Suwannee River Partnership, in cooperation with Florida Farm Bureau Federation, created the CARES program. The Partnership continues to support CARES through the annual Suwannee CARES Celebration. The leadership provided from organizations/agencies who make up the Partnership continues to be a valuable role in advancing CARES and environmental stewardship.
Staff from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) work one- on- one with farmers/ranchers to plan, implement and verify Best Management Practices (BMPs). FDACS staff also identify which producers are to receive the CARES designation and sign. Once a producer has not only enrolled in FDACS’ BMP program but has also entered the maintenance phase of BMP implementation, staff can consider them for CARES eligibility.
Florida Farm Bureau supports BMP research efforts conducted by UF/IFAS as well as Extension programs and projects, which assist farmers with new, innovative production methods. As a founding partner of the CARES program, UF/IFAS’ continues research efforts so that Florida producers can better protect and preserve natural resources while producing a better food supply. Additionally, UF/ IFAS conducts educational outreach in local communities through the Extension Service to help consumers learn how their food is grown and how farmers/ranchers take active roles in conservation efforts. Currently, the UF/IFAS NFREC- Suwannee Valley Center hosts our annual Suwannee CARES Celebration. Their staff are dedicated to the largest CARES recognition held statewide.
The Suwannee River Water Management District is a founding partner of the Suwannee River Partnership as well as the CARES program. Currently, the District supports the hosting of the annual Suwannee CARES Celebration as well as the educational and outreach efforts of CARES throughout the Suwannee River Basin.