Lykes Bros. Inc. is a family- owned business that began as a 500- acre operation near Brooksville and has since grown into more than 610,000 acres in Florida and Texas.  Lykes Bros. Inc. has been a leader in agribusiness for more than a hundred years and fully invests in responsible stewardship on a diverse operation.  The company raises beef cattle, grows citrus as well as a variety of row crops, and runs a pine and eucalyptus forestry operation throughout Highlands, Glades and Polk Counties. 

Lykes Bros. has implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs) for nearly 40 years and in 2007 enrolled in BMPs to assist with efforts to reduce water and nutrient use and improve water quality throughout all of the parcels they farm and ranch on.  Implementing BMPs has been a natural fit as one of their core values states that they will honor their heritage through good stewardship. 

Throughout each operation, soil and leaf tissues samples are taken and analyzed regularly.  Results from each sample help their staff precisely apply fertilizer in correct amounts and at optimal times.

On their citrus operation micro- jet irrigation in combination with soil moisture sensors and weather stations all work together every day to reduce water use. 

In the cattle sector, in addition to rotational grazing, solar powered wells deliver water to troughs placed in specific areas to prevent soil erosion and offer more water sources to cattle separate from surface water areas.  Also, mineral feeders are moved away from sensitive areas to prevent soil erosion and nutrient build- up.

Protecting wildlife habitats is accomplished through BMPs such as maintaining strips of native vegetation for birds and small game as well as prescribed burning.  The company has four permitted gopher tortoise recipient sites throughout Lykes Ranch and are exploring future opportunities to accommodate additional species to protect. 

On each parcel of land with row crops, both cover crops and vegetative buffers work together to improve water quality.

The responsible use of water and improvement of water quality throughout each sector of Lykes is ingrained in everything decision they make to protect natural resources.  The high intensity areas of the ranch have large surface water management systems where storm water runoff is collected and retained for treatment prior to being discharged offsite.  What this means is that water, by the hundreds of gallons at a time that leaves the ranch is cleaner than when it first entered.  Buffers, native vegetation, berms, and water control structures all work together to accomplish cleaning up this water. 

Over the last decade, their Board of Directors has guided the company to make an annual and ongoing investment in formally tracking and reporting natural resource protection efforts as part of a Corporate Sustainability Report.  This report guides the expansion of future projects and helps to sustain current project already in place.

Lykes has been a long- time member of the Florida Land Council to engage regulatory and resource management agencies in formulating public policies relating to environmental protection.  Lykes staff are also members of and actively support and participate in more than 50 local, state and national professional and advocacy organizations.

Florida Farm Bureau Federation is proud to award a 2018 CARES designation and sign to Lykes Bros. Inc. for their dedication in being outstanding environmental stewards. 

Photos are property of Lykes Bros. Inc.