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Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices (BMPs) address water quality and quantity impacts from production activities and help maintain the environmental advantages.

What are Best Management Practices?
Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical measures that producers can take to reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources. They are designed to improve water quality while maintaining agricultural
production. Working with stakeholders, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) adopted various BMP manuals.

The BMP manuals cover key aspects of water quality and water conservation. Typical practices include:
Nutrient Management to determine nutrient needs and sources, and manage nutrient applications to minimize impacts to water resources.
Water Resource Protection using buffers, setbacks, and swales, to reduce or prevent the transport of sediments and nutrients from production areas to waterbodies.
Irrigation Management to address the method and scheduling of irrigation to reduce water and nutrient losses to the environment.

Why should I implement BMPs?
• Some BMPs can help you operate more efficiently and reduce costs, while you help protect the environment. Also, producers enrolled in FDACS BMP programs are eligible for cost-share, when available, for certain practices.
• Implementing (and maintaining) verified FDACS-adopted BMPs provides a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards for the pollutants addressed by the BMPs.
• BMP implementation provides protection under the Florida Right to Farm Act from duplicative local regulation.
• Producers who implement FDACS-adopted BMPs might satisfy some water management district permitting requirements. Check with your district.
• In areas with adopted basin management action plans (BMAPs), and some other designated areas, producers who implement BMPs avoid having to conduct costly water quality monitoring.
• BMP participation demonstrates agriculture’s commitment to water resource protection, and helps maintain support for this
alternative approach.

How do I participate in BMPs?
1. Schedule a meeting with a BMP team member, who will provide a free FDACS BMP manual and other BMP-related information.
2. Participate with the team member in a free assessment of your operation, to determine which BMPs apply to you.
3. Fill out a BMP checklist and sign the Notice of Intent (NOI) to implement the BMPs.
4. Keep a copy of the checklist and signed NOI in your records.
5. Implement and maintain the applicable BMPs and keep adequate records, to maintain a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.
6. If you would like to receive a Certificate of Enrollment in BMPs, contact FDACS at (850) 617-1727 or email

Examples of Best Management Practices
Precision Agriculture
• Using precision agriculture technology, such as GPS Irrigation System Maintenance and Evaluation
• Understanding the level of irrigation system efficiency
• Properly maintaining irrigation system for distribution uniformity
Tissue Testing
• Utilizing tissue testing to determine crop nutrient needs as part of a comprehensive fertilizer management plan
Soil Testing
• Utilizing soil testing to determine crop nutrient needs as part of a comprehensive fertilizer management plan
Conservation Tillage
• Practicing conservation tillage, maintaining a minimum of 50 percent residue cover throughout the year
Field Borders
• Maintaining vegetated field borders around the perimeter of the field, especially where runoff enters or leaves the field
Contour Farming
• Establishing row direction as closely as possible to the natural contour in order to minimize erosion
Wetlands and Springs Protection
• Maintaining a 25-foot undisturbed upland buffer exterior to the landward extent of wetlands
Water Supply
• Utilizing a backflow prevention device to prevent contamination to the water source
Tailwater Recovery
• Properly maintaining a tailwater recovery system and integrating the water source into an irrigation plan
Grassed Waterways
• Using visual inspections, topopgraphic maps, and/or basic survey equipment to identify areas wehre grassed waterways are needed to convey water from fields
Integrated Pest Management
• Storing pesticides in an enclosed, roofed structure with an impervious floor, away from surface waters and above the 100-year floodplain

After Enrolling in BMPs
An important part of BMP implementation is documenting it through record keeping, as specified in FDACS rules and BMP manuals. This is sometimes the only way to confirm BMP implementation. BMP records should be accurate, clear, and wellorganized. You may develop your own record-keeping forms or use the ones provided in the manual. FDACS staff, UF-IFAS BMP Implementation Teams, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA-NRCS and/or county Extension staff can assist producers with BMP implementation and record-keeping methods.

For assistance with enrolling in and implementing BMPs contact:

Victoria Wheeler
OSWCD Conservation Technician
(850) 688-3486 

Physical Address:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Agricultural Water Policy
The Elliot Building
401 S. Monroe
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Mailing Address:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Agricultural Water Policy
The Mayo Building
407 S. Calhoun St., Mail Stop E1
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800