April 22, 2016
Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. Some communities celebrate Earth Week or Earth Month by organizing environmental activities to help bring awareness to the importance of a clean environment, to protect the earth and secure a sustainable future. No group however, observes Earth Day as often as farmers and ranchers.
Our Florida farmers and ranchers pledge an act of green each day. They share the same environmental goals as the public and are devoted to caring for the land they use to provide the food, fiber and fuel to feed a growing population.
More than one billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
Florida has more than 9.3 million acres of agricultural and forestry land enrolled in Best Management Practices (BMPs). These environmentally sound, modern agriculture practices protect the soil, conserve wildlife habitat, conserve and protect water quality and increase energy efficiency.
Florida Farm Bureau’s County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) program recognizes farmers and ranchers who practice excellent environmental stewardship with a ‘This Farm CARES’ certificate and sign to display at their farm gate. More than 850 farmers and ranchers across Florida have been recognized for protecting the Earth for future generations. Eleven additional farmers will be recognized at the Suwannee River CARES Dinner on May 5 in Live Oak.
Through their conservation methods, they have helped conserve 11 billion gallons of freshwater each year in Florida. They are role models for other individuals who want to do their part in preserving the land for the next generation. Here are just a few ways that Florida farmers and ranchers pay tribute to our Earth:
- They plant ground coverings to prevent erosion
- They maintain open space for cattle grazing, allowing land to maintain its natural state
- They fence off streams and wetlands to prevent erosion and control runoff
- They create retention ponds to protect waterways
- They implement conservation tillage
- They plant trees to protect livestock, wildlife and soil
- They maintain proper nutrients in the soil
- They compost for fertilizer
- They recycle
- They plant cover crops
- They use conservation easements to protect open spaces from development
- They use efficient irrigation systems to conserve water
- They use solar-power
- They use the latest science to guide farming decisions
- They provide habitat for wildlife
As we celebrate Earth Day this year and participate in activities to keep the Earth green for future generations, let’s not forget to pay tribute to the farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly each day to tend to the land that feeds the families on this Earth. They are true volunteers who pledge an act of green.