Water-Related News

SJRWMD approves funding for ag projects that conserve water, reduce nutrients

District has funded more than 100 agricultural cost-share projects since July 2015

PALATKA — Nine agricultural projects will share in nearly $779,000 in cost-share funds from the St. Johns River Water Management District to improve water conservation and reduce nutrient loading to area waterways. Projects approved by the District’s Governing Board on Tuesday are estimated to collectively conserve 138 million gallons of water a year and reduce total nitrogen by 17,100 pounds and total phosphorus by 3,170 pounds per year.

“Since the program began in July 2015, we have funded 103 partnership projects to help farmers and growers implement projects that conserve water and result in nutrient load reductions,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Our program works to protect the environment and supports sustainable farming practices while also increasing farms’ production and quality.”

Per the project ranking approved by the board at Tuesday’s meeting, the following projects will receive funds this cycle:

  • Orange Bend Harvesting Inc., Lake County, precision fertilizer application equipment
  • Wild Goose Farms LLC, Marion County, precision fertilizer equipment and soil moisture sensors
  • Total Ag Care LLC, Orange County, irrigation retrofit and soil moisture sensors
  • Richard Davis, Lake County, irrigation retrofit
  • Sun Ag LLC, Indian River County, conversion to surface water
  • Cherrylake Inc., Lake County, soil moisture sensors and weather station
  • Estes Citrus Inc., Indian River County, portable tissue testing lab, soil moisture sensors
  • Lake Jem Farms Inc., Lake County, soil moisture sensors and precision fertilizer equipment
  • Underhill Ferneries Inc., Volusia County, precision fertilizer application equipment

The District received 13 applications for projects seeking funds through the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Districtwide Ag Cost-share Program for projects in the 15 counties outside the Tri-County Agricultural Area (portions of Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties), which has its own separate funding program for agricultural projects.

The types of projects eligible for funding include irrigation system retrofits, soil moisture and climate sensor telemetry, rainwater harvesting, subirrigation drain tile and more. The program is entirely voluntary and includes a requirement that funding recipients modify their consumptive use permits to memorialize the actual water reductions resulting from the District’s monetary contribution.

For information about District cost-share programs, visit www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding/.