The(SJRWMD) held a series of workshops for farmers and ranchers across the this year. The objective of the workshops was to define a strategy for agriculture to improve irrigation efficiency.
Due to increased population and water demand projections, there is urgency for producers to continue being proactive in preserving our natural resources.
SJRWMD sought feedback regarding several topics, including how to encourage improved irrigation efficiency while meeting both the needs of agricultural producers and determining a realistic timeline to transition growers to more cost-efficient systems.
Florida Farm Bureau has been an active participant in the workshops and provided the following feedback:
Issue 20-year permits for agricultural use, with the option to implement irrigation efficiency upgrades with, or without, District funded cost-share assistance to increase permit duration to 30 years. Immediate implementation is not always feasible for producers, especially if cost-share assistance is not used. An agreement to implement enhanced efficiency within the first 10 years of the permit would be a more realistic timeline.
Utilize recharge information so that the same science could be used in the consumptive use permitting (CUP) process. The District could show additional benefits of keeping agricultural producers in production, and where recharge on agricultural lands occurred, the producers would be directly incentivized by an increase in the duration of their permit.
For more information on the workshop discussions, contact.