April 13, 2017
Most Floridians are beginning to recognize that farm families are our front-line environmentalists.
They conserve land and water every day as they grow food and fiber for the world.
Farmers and ranchers conserve more than 12 billion gallons of freshwater each year through precise irrigation techniques and comprehensive recycling systems.
They also work steadily to enhance water quality. Last year, for example, the South Florida Water Management District reported that farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area reduced the phosphorus content of water flowing from their properties by more than 80 percent.
Agricultural producers also make substantial contributions toward moderating the general upward trend in the earth’s temperature. According to researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the average temperature on this state’s farmland since 1900 has cooled by one degree. This pattern contrasts sharply with the increase in temperatures within urban areas.
Such contributions do not occur by accident. They require careful management and long-term investment.
Most farm families live and work on the land with the goal of transferring it to their children and grandchildren.
They treasure the natural resources that give them a livelihood. And they share the goal of conservation with their urban neighbors.
As Jefferson County rancher Mac Finlayson noted recently, “I think the environmental community and farmers have come closer together. They have realized all of the greenspace that is privately held in agriculture is a great benefit to natural resource conservation.”