Title: 1994 Ag-Environmental: Jon's Nursery, Inc.
Type: Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award
Jon Rackley, owner of Jon's Nursery in Lake County, has gone beyond traditional water conservation by introducing an impressive collection process that uses reclaimed water.
Focusing on water availability and reuse and its important application for Florida's well-drained sandy soils, Mr. Rackley was the first to install a system that collects and recycles nearly all the water needed to grow landscape plants on a section of his nursery.
Plants set on an impervious crowned bed are watered using overhead sprinklers. The runoff is channeled through sloped, paved roads into a lined holding pond for recycling. Computer-controlled sprinkler systems then precisely distribute the reclaimed water. This reduced by 80 percent the amount of water withdrawn from the aquifer, and virtually eliminated water and nutrient runoff.
Jon Rackley: I feel compelled to put the rest of the acreage that I have available for nursery in this way. So any disadvantages that might crop up are, I think, far outweighed by the advantages that it does give us with the tremendous eater savings.
Other advanced production techniques are also employed to conserve water. Thermostats are used to activate mist systems, watering plants only when necessary. Specially designed spray heads provide uniform distribution and avoid excess and runoff.
Not only is Mr. Rackley setting new standards of excellence for the Florida nursery industry, he is active in educational programs where he shares his expertise. Various industry groups have adopted similar water reclamation and reuse systems.
Jon Rackley: I feel it's important to share any information that I might have because our limits are being brought to bear on what we can do with our earth, with our ground. And I feel that wise use of these resources that we have is in everyone's best interest.