Money for Producers Part 1

Despite the gloomy economic environment that pervades the nursery business currently, there are agencies that are still giving out money. One of those agencies is the Southwest Florida Water Management District. They have a program to help producers put in practices that will help them meet BMPs (Best Management Practices). If you have an idea for a water conservation project you would like to implement and you have some extra cash to spare, you might want to check out this program. This programs will help producers protect groundwater sources, reduce water withdrawals, and conserve natural resources. The program that SWFWMD is offering is the FARMS program (Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems). This is a cost share program that reimburses projects that are approved by SWFWMD. Reimbursement rates are generally 50 percent for water quantity reduction or water quality improvement BMPs and 75 percent for projects that incorporate both water quality and quantity benefits. According to the FARMS program, the projects must provide one or more of the following resource benefits: water quality improvement, reduction of the Floridan aquifer withdrawals, and/or conservation, restoration or augmentation of the area's water resources and ecology. The producer's projects are subject to approval and a farm visit by a FDACS representative. Projects will also have a contract life that must be monitored for effectiveness. The FARMS program will not pay for certain components of projects such as labor or excavation costs but will cover equipment, pumps, pipes, filters and other costs. Further information about this program can be obtained from the SWFWMD website www.watermatters.org/farms. Here's your opportunity to take advantage of a program that might benefit you in the future if water regulations become tighter.

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