Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1994 Winner

Adams Ranch, Inc.
Fort Pierce, Florida

Under the leadership of its owner, Alto “Bud” Adams, the Adams Ranch has become world renowned for its stewardship of the land, wildlife and water resources. Adams is considered a leader at managing a successful cattle operation in complete accord with the environment.
The improved and native pastures found on the Adams Ranch mirror the natural mosaic and species of vegetation typical of the area’s native wet prairie community, while providing the improved nutritional value of properly managed pastures. Water is managed carefully to minimize off-site discharges and retain excess water for periods of moisture stress.

Adams works diligently to control the negative effects that exotic plant species have on wildlife habitats, food sources and cattle forage. He allocates approximately $60,000 annually for the control of Melaleuca and Brazilian pepper. Adams also discovered the benefit of introduction hyacinths infected with a particular weevil into drainage canals where hyacinths have impeded water movement. The successful implementation of this biological control minimizes the need to use aquatic herbicides. This, in turn, also helps to reduce the environmental problems often associated with decaying, submerged vegetation, including the release of nitrates and phosphorus and diminishes oxygen supply.

One of the most recognized and acclaimed attributes of the family’s management style is the willingness to cooperate with government conservation programs and research. For example, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has assisted the family with management of many wildlife species including game, non-game threatened and endangered species for more than a decade.  Adams has cooperated with the agency’s efforts to reintroduce the endangered whooping crane. He also has provided access to many researchers from private foundations and public agencies to study the sandhill crane, bald eagle, osprey, and caracara.

The Adams style of leadership through example continually reinforces the positive image of Florida’s agriculture industry. Adams’ publications,“A Cattleman’s Backcountry Florida,” have helped to introduce the general public to the relationship between agriculture and the environment. -- 1994


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