For more information, please email the Community & Legislative Affairs Department.
The Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) Program was developed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is a public/private agricultural best management practices (BMPs) cost-share reimbursement program. FARMS is intended to expedite the implementation of production-scale agricultural BMPs that provide water resource benefits. The program is critical to the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA) recovery strategy and is intended to offset 40 million gallons per day (mgd) of ground water within the SWUCA by 2025.
FARMS projects are located throughout the SWUCA, including Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota counties. The projects represent a variety of agricultural industry commodities including citrus, dairy, vegetable row crops, blueberry, nursery, strawberry, sod and flower bulbs. FARMS promotes agricultural viability due to improved water quality provided for crop irrigation, as well as alternative supply use in areas of stressed groundwater supply.
Projected cost*: $30 million through 2025
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
- Southwest Florida Resource Conservation & Development Council
- Reduced Upper Floridan aquifer withdrawals
- Water quality improvements (from both groundwater and surface water sources)
- Conservation, restoration and augmentation of the area’s water resources and ecology
- The first FARMS project was approved by the District Governing Board and Peace River Basin Board in December 2002 as a partnership with a Charlotte County citrus grower using a tailwater recovery system for irrigation.
- Since its inception, 65 FARMS projects have been Board-approved, with a projected groundwater offset of 13.4 mgd.
- In 2008, 18 FARMS projects were Board-approved.
- It is anticipated that up to 19 FARMS projects will be approved in fiscal year 2009.
FARMS Program in the SWUCA (as of July 2007)
* Several components of the WRAP are still undergoing feasibility studies. Any costs associated with these projects are therefore estimated.