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Okeechobee Farmers Recognized for Environmental Leadership
Okeechobee, Fla. – Four Okeechobee-based agriculturists were honored for their environmental stewardship with a County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) award on Oct. 4. The event was held at the Okeechobee County Farm Bureau.
Recipients honored were David DeLargy, Triple Diamond Ranch; Richard Smith, Richard Smith Ranch; Steve Griffin, Griffin Trees and Brad and Nancy Phares, Lazy JP Ranch.
The CARES program was established by Florida Farm Bureau and the Suwannee River Partnership in 2001 to recognize superior natural resources conservation by agricultural producers. The program relies on the voluntary action by farmers and ranchers to implement state-of-the-art natural resource management systems, or Best Management Practices, on their properties.
“It is imperative to recognize all Florida farmers who voluntarily go the extra mile in caring for the land,” said Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick. “The CARES award is our way to honor these farmers and bring awareness of production agriculture’s commitment to superior management of natural resources.”
Florida farmers and ranchers depend upon the life-sustaining capacity of the natural resources they manage to maintain their livelihoods. More than 530 agriculturists statewide have received the CARES award since the program was established.
The CARES program involves partnerships with more than 60 public agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource and Conservation Service, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida’s water management districts, agricultural organizations, businesses and local government. CARES has become a model for the rest of the nation.
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Florida Farm Bureau is the Sunshine State's largest general agricultural organization with more than 140,000 member-families representing Farm Bureaus in 60 counties. Membership provides a multitude of benefits and you don't have to be a farmer to be a member of Florida Farm Bureau.