Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1994 Winner

Gustafson's Dairy Farm
Green Cove Springs, Florida

The Gustafson’s Dairy is the largest family-owned and operated dairy in the United States.  Operating in Clay County since 1908, the operation is in its fourth generation of family ownership. While the dairy is the major part of the operation, other ventures include beef cattle, row crops and forest management.

The Gustafson family is keenly aware that environmental stewardship and natural resource preservation are key to the future success of the business. Toward this end, the dairy has installed an environmentally sound waste management system that allows for the milking of 4,000 head of cows and a dry cow herd of 1,500.

The system confines all cows in a High Intensity Area (HIA) of approximately 167 acres. A perimeter ditch collects all runoff and conveys it to a central sump area, where it is pumped into a 90-acre waste storage pond and subsequently to crop fields for application. Crops are grown in these fields using a state-of-the-art irrigation management system which makes the most efficient use of all water while maximizing crop production. Most of the crops are harvested and fed back to the cows. Installation of the waste management system is approximately 90 percent complete with the final cost projected at $1.75 million. -- 1994


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