Research Efforts to Understand BMP Costs

By Tara Wade, PhD
Assistant Professor, UF-IFAS, Food and Resource Economics Department
Southwest Florida Research and Education Center

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) are essential to mitigating agriculture’s potential negative effects on the environment and to clean water in particular. Public benefits include sustained or improved water quality due to reduced nutrient losses, reduced soil erosion, and increased water conservation. Private benefits can include improved crop yield and/or reduced input costs from less fuel, labor, and fertilizer.

Growers provide a public service by absorbing the cost of implementing BMPs, but as yet, researchers and policymakers do not understand the full suite of costs. More importantly, there are no public data indicating the magnitude of environmental benefits accruing to BMP adoption. Researchers know which BMPs are adopted, but do not know on which crops these practices are being applied or to what intensity.

Dr. Tara Wade and other UF-IFAS researchers designed a survey that identifies which BMPs are being adopted by different commodity growers. Survey results will capture how these practices affect yields and production costs. This work is an important step to quantifying and documenting BMP costs and the socioeconomic factors that affect adoption.  Wade and her project team will attempt to fill research gaps by first examining the relationship between specific crops and BMP use and how BMPs affect production costs and yields. Results from this survey will be used to help focus efforts in designing and updating enterprise budgets that will calculate direct costs from adoption of these practices as well as designing other research projects that identify growers’ challenges to adopting BMPs and quantifying the value they provide.

Take Survey
Grower participation in the survey is critical to understanding the challenges growers face when adopting BMPs and the value they provide by doing so. The survey is electronic and can be found at . The access code is JFKSGG and questions refer to the 2016-2017 calendar year. Farm operators can be assured that the information provided will be kept confidential and responses from all participants will be combined and presented in aggregate form.