Ten agricultural projects to share over $1 million to help protect water resources

Pictured 2 local citrus growers
Pictured local citrus growers

Pictured are projects that previously received funding from the Districtwide cost-share program. Top left: Austin Spivey with Cherrylake, Inc. explains how they use their soil moisture sensors and weather station. Top right: Hydroponic vegetable growing facility. Bottom: Cornelius Caldwell (right) is a local citrus grower who has completed multiple cost-share projects, including irrigation retrofits and purchasing precision fertilizer application equipment.

PALATKA, Fla., June 14, 2022 — Today, the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board approved the execution of ten contracts that will provide local growers with over $1 million in cost-share funds. Together, these projects will reduce water use by 102 million gallons per year and reduce nutrient loading in the region.

“These projects help assure the sustainability of agriculture within the region while protecting our natural resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register. “We appreciate the continued commitment of our board to provide local farmers and growers with funding to help implement water conservation and nutrient reduction projects.”

Applications were reviewed for eligibility and to ensure they satisfy the goals of the program. Eligibility criteria includes compliance history, cost-effectiveness, location and enrollment in the best management practices program through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The ten projects that will receive funding are:

  • Banack Family Limited Partnership, Indian River County
  • Wild Goose Farms/Bartlett Berry, Lake County
  • Cherrylake, Inc., Lake County
  • Clonts Farms, Inc., Seminole County
  • Hammond Groves, Indian River County
  • Sanders Trinity, LLC, Volusia County
  • Sun Ag, LLC, Indian River County
  • Total Ag Care, LLC, Orange County
  • Underhill Ferneries, Inc., Volusia County
  • Hagstrom Floral, Volusia County

Map of District cost-share projectsProjects include conversion from overhead irrigation to drip irrigation, pump automation, and precision fertilizer application equipment with GPS. In addition to conserving water, these projects are anticipated to reduce total nitrogen loading by 4,578 pounds per year and total phosphorus loading by 963 pounds per year. These nutrients help fuel algal blooms, so reducing the amount entering waterbodies is the key to water quality restoration.

The Districtwide Cost Share program provides up to 75% of the project costs, not to exceed $250,00 for engineering, design, construction and implementation costs of the project. Applicants are expected to cover project maintenance costs for the life of the project. Since 2015 the District’s agricultural cost-share program has funded nearly 130 projects that help reduce water use and nutrient runoff.

To learn more about the District’s cost-share program, visit www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding/agricultural-cost-share/#2022-agricultural-cost-share.