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Agricultural Best Management Practices

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What are Agricultural Best Management Practices?

Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical measures that producers can take to reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources. They are designed to improve water quality while maintaining agricultural production. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has adopted BMPs for most commodities in the state. Each BMP manual covers key aspects of water quality and water conservation. Typical practices include:

  • Nutrient Management to determine nutrient needs and sources as well as manage nutrient applications (including manure) to minimize impacts to water resources.
  • Irrigation Management to address the method and scheduling of irrigation to reduce water and nutrient losses to the environment.
  • Water Resource Protection using buffers, setbacks, and swales to reduce or prevent the transport of sediments and nutrients from production areas to waterbodies.

Close-up photo of sprinklers on a large irrigation system watering a field.Why Should I Implement BMPs?

  • Implementing (and maintaining) verified FDACS-adopted BMPs provides a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards for the pollutants addressed by the BMPs.
  • Some BMPs can help you operate more efficiently and reduce costs, while you help protect the environment.
  • Producers who implement FDACS-adopted BMPs might satisfy some water management district (WMD) permitting requirements. Check with your WMD.
  • With some exceptions, the Florida Right to Farm Act prohibits local governments from regulating an agricultural activity that is addressed through rule-adopted BMPs that producers are implementing.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is developing Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) to meet adopted water quality targets called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Where FDEP adopts a BMAP that includes agriculture, producers must either implement FDACS-adopted BMPs, or conduct monitoring (prescribed by FDEP or the water management district) to show they are not violating water quality standards. This type of monitoring is very expensive.

How Do I Participate in BMPs?

  • Schedule a meeting with a BMP team member, who will provide a free FDACS BMP manual and other BMP-related information.
  • Participate with the coordinator in a free assessment of your operation to determine which BMPs apply to you.
  • Fill out a BMP checklist and sign the Notice of Intent (NOI) to implement the BMPs.
  • Keep a copy of the checklist and signed NOI in your records.
  • Implement and maintain the applicable BMPs and keep adequate records to maintain a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.

Best Management Practices

4-H & Youth  

Role of Controlled Release Fertilizer in Future BMPs Bob Hochmuth (RSA – Vegetable Crops) and De Broughton (RSA – Agronomic Row Crops) from the UF/IFAS North Florida... 

Agriculture  

Researching BMPs for Hemp Production in Florida Dr. Zachary Brym, an assistant professor of agroecology with the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center,... 

Water  

Agricultural Water Conservation and Quality: Alternative Irrigation Methods to Seepage Drs. Mark Clark and Lincoln Zotarelli discussed alternative irrigation methods to seepage and their impact on water... 

Pests & Disease  

The Role of Micro- and Macro-Nutrients in Rehabilitating HLB Infected Trees Dr. Davie Kadyampakeni, an assistant professor studying citrus water and nutrient management at the UF/IFAS Citrus... 

Agriculture  

Citrus Nutrition Recommendations for the New Normal – Citrus Greening Florida is the largest producer of citrus in the U.S., with a ten-billion-dollar industry consisting mostly of juice...