Economics or the Environment?

The debate continues as to the price we pay to protect the environment. Are jobs and conservation always at odds? What about the Paris Accords from 2016? Can one person, one corporation, or one farm make a difference?

Aside from all the charged “you” versus “us” factions, the United States is in a heated discussion in many States as to what to protect and how much it will cost. New Florida DEP regulations to protect water quality and quantity in the Suwannee Valley Basin are similarly asking how we can reduce our impact. The big question is how can we keep the economy alive and preserve our beautiful springs?

The 17 counties which make up the northeast part of Florida are principally agriculture. We have over 1/5th of all farmers in the state ( 9,974) and over 1/8th of the farm receipts ($1.1 million). So farming is a big part of the economy here (USDA 2012 Census). With new precision agriculture tools and wider UF/IFAS extension education, hopefully we can continue to keep those farmers productive while conserving our natural resources. Thomas Jefferson (among our many founding fathers and early farmers) were the first conservationists:

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or anything else.” –Thomas Jefferson in communication to John Jay, 1785.

The debate continues today in many open forums where collective goals are outlined and respect is given to all stakeholders. Take a look at this small town, Perham Minnesota, and how they address the economic question. We might pay attending to their civility!

COULD THIS ONE SIMPLE IDEA BE THE KEY TO SOLVING FARMER–ENVIRONMENTALIST CONFLICTS?     A rural community finds that for groundwater pollution, understanding each other’s constraints can make all the difference.

A few interesting quotes from Brian Bohman:

“What Perham residents quickly found is that farmers are interested in keeping nitrogen out of the groundwater, too — not only to keep their own drinking water safe, but also due to the economics of fertilizer management: Any nitrogen fertilizer not used by crops is a wasted resource and money down the drain.”

“Farmers were willing to try new nitrogen management practices when they had seen examples on fields they were familiar with and by peers they know and respect.”


Posted: October 5, 2017

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Agriculture, Conservation, Florida, Nitrates, UF/IFAS Extension, Water


Kevin Athearn

May 27, 2021

You would have to contact your county property appraiser office to learn what the additional property tax would be. Every county (and municipality) has a different millage rate. Hoop houses could be treated as an improvement on the property, increasing the assessed value and amount of property tax you owe.

Vivian Searcy Milton
May 25, 2021

How are hoop Houses taxed by the property appraisers office? If it cost $1,395,000 to build the hoop house on the farm how much would the real estate taxes be. the land value with agriculture exemption is 55,000 Total acreage is 150 The extra features value is 1.395,000.

Kevin Athearn

April 16, 2020

Thank you very much for pointing out the Edible Northeast Florida map. I have added that to the blog.

Mimi Vreeland
April 16, 2020

Hello! Could you please edit the above infromation to include “Edible of Northeast and South Florida”. I was informed by the editor of Edible Northeast thy they are also providing the same service as South Florida Edible. Your prompt editing in this announcement would be much appreciated

April 3, 2020

WAS WONDERING as without our impact upon the urban setting could become devastating within days to weeks. Glad this industry is recognized as important, maybe we can be respected better. As having same amount of schooling as most Doctors, then being treated as 'lowly' has disappointed me over the years, as we have less respect. Always dreamed recognition would be nice & this form helps as we are important

De Broughton

November 26, 2019

Hi Kathy, Click on our website and you should find the information you are looking for as well as upcoming training opportunities in the greenhouses. Also, the contact information for our greenhouse manager is on this site if you need more assistance!

November 15, 2019 worked with peanuts.bkueberries.oeaches,plums,vetch,tobacco etc for IFAS prior to six years ago.I was an OPS. ....have a few questions.i have never tried hydroponics.Will there be a separate print out or paper I can get and read carefully pertaining to local lettuce? that does not have to do with hydro technical methods?( Organic please?).i have been growing soybeans and yet to get good accurate info.locally when I visit my wonderful local IFAS office here.

De Broughton

May 23, 2019

Thanks Al! I’m so glad you could join us!

Al Burns
May 23, 2019

Great meeting.

Patrick Troy
June 19, 2018

A 2018 update: STATE ITEM June 17, 2018 PREV. WEEK June 17, 2017 5-YEAR AVG. FLORIDA Peanuts Pegging 8% 0% 12% 11% Soil Moisture 0% Very Short 7% Short 73% Adequate 20% Surplus Conditions 0% VP, 1% Poor 20% Fair 68% Good 11% Excellent Early planted peanuts look excellent, but late planted were only fair because of prolonged wet conditions.

Jennifer Copeland
October 18, 2017

Checking to see if you are doing the Fall Harvest Experience inn Live Oak. My 3rd grade class loves to go each year!

October 10, 2017

Good timing We need to address both!

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

The warm spring increased GDDs. What are other varieties doing in your area?

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

Most 06G peanuts are running 8-10 days ahead of last year

Patrick Troy

September 10, 2017

Dry weather is expected to follow Monday's rain.

Patrick Troy

September 6, 2017

What was the stover material? Did you roll that down and herbicide it?

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