October 8, 2010
Bronson To Present Environmental Leadership Awards In Daytona Beach
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson will present awards to three agricultural operations in recognition of their leadership in protecting and enhancing the environment. The 2010 Commissioner’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Awards will be presented during the Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Daytona Beach on Friday, October 15. The awards program is now in its 17th year and has recognized a total of 52 winners.
“The Ag-Environmental Leadership Award program spotlights the innovative farming practices of our state’s growers and ranchers,” Bronson said. “Nominees for the award come from different parts of Florida’s agricultural industry, and all share a commitment to protecting and preserving Florida’s natural resources while continuing to provide food and other agricultural products for society.”
This year’s winners are: Saturiwa Conservation Area, in Elkton; 3 Boys Farm, in Ruskin; and Arapaho Citrus Management, Inc., in Fort Pierce.
Nominations for the annual award are received by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The winners are then chosen by a selection committee made up of representatives from The Nature Conservancy, the state’s Water Management Districts, the Florida Farm Bureau, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, the Florida Dairy Association, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Florida Citrus Mutual, the Florida Forestry Association, and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
Saturiwa Conservation Area, in Elkton
Located on the St. Johns River in southwest St. Johns County, the Saturiwa Conservation Area has been cited as one of the finest examples of sustainable multiple-use forest management in Florida. It is a stunning combination of a planted slash pine, natural pine flatwoods, cypress dome wetlands, a hardwood riverine swamp, and a half mile of pristine shoreline. Mike Adams, owner of Adamscience, an environmental resource management company, maintains and conserves wildlife habitat, water and forestland on the 94-acre family homestead while also managing the property’s planted pine stand. Mike employs prescribed burning and selective harvesting toward his goal of restoring the property back to a longleaf pine ecosystem not seen in this part of Florida for over a half century. He often conducts tours of Saturiwa, sharing his knowledge of its history and diverse ecosystems with various groups including new forest landowners and school children.
3 Boys Farm, in Ruskin
A model of conservation, the 10-acre 3 Boys Farm in Ruskin has integrated alternative energy sources with high- and low-tech systems to produce a hyper-efficient, sustainable 21st century farm. While collecting rainwater in cisterns isn’t a new idea, the way in which farm uses the water is. Owner Robert Tornello harvests it from the roofs of his greenhouses to use as a base for the hydroponic growing solution and in the greenhouse cooling systems. The hydroponic growing technique and greenhouse climate control system allows 3 Boys Farm to organically grow any vegetable or herb year round, a rare feat for a Florida farm. Customers including upscale, ethnic and fusion restaurants rave about the quality and variety of the produce and the ability to cook with vegetables and herbs, grown to their exact specifications, picked just hours before. Combining old techniques with advanced technology, 3 Boys Farm grows a wholesome crop with little impact on the environment.
Arapaho Citrus Management, Inc., in Fort Pierce
Involved in citrus production all of his life, Pete Spyke started Arapaho Citrus Management, Inc., in 1986 specializing in grove management, tree planting and irrigation installation. Florida’s citrus industry continually faces serious challenges and Spyke has sought solutions on all fronts. After citrus greening was found, Spyke traveled to South Africa to see how producers were combating it and within six months he was using the same principles. He has long been on the cutting edge of developing methods to conserve resources and protect the environment while increasing fruit yield and quality. He was the first grower in Florida to use the open hydroponic system that causes citrus trees to produce earlier and faster. Spyke serves on numerous boards and committees where his talents as grower, scientist and land-use planner have offered a unique perspective. He chaired the committee that drafted the Indian River Citrus Best Management Practices manual to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. While on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Spyke chaired the Strategic Policy Plan Development Committee that developed an internationally acclaimed plan for sustainable development policies. He helped develop St. Lucie County’s Towns, Villages and Countryside Plan that integrates agricultural land use and new communities, providing a model for development in Florida.
Contact information: The 2010 Agricultural-Environmental Awards will be presented during a ceremony held during the Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting.
|Date:||Friday, October 15, 2010|
|Location:||Daytona Beach Hilton
100 North Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118
|Contact/Credentials:||Florida Farm Bureau, Shaun Fulford
Tel: (352) 378-8100 ext. 1030
Video available: A video about the winners will be available October 15 from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. News organizations wishing to obtain a copy of the video (DVD or Beta SP) should contact Gary Seamans at (850) 487-8000.
Photos available: High-resolution photos of the award-winning agricultural operations can be downloaded from: florida-agriculture.com/agenvironmental/