For Immediate Release
August 13, 2015
Contact: Brian Burgess

EAA Farmers Celebrate Record-Setting Improvements To Water Quality

Farmers with operations in the Everglades Agricultural Area celebrated historic reductions in phosphorous this week and a major ruling in state appeals court that combined, demonstrate the effectiveness of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) in use in the area.

“This has been a great month for EAA farmers, with both the South Florida Water Management District announcing historic phosphorous reductions for the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Second District Court of Appeals upholding the use of existing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to achieve better water quality for the Everglades,” said Brian Hughes, spokesman for a coalition of farmers with operations in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

EAA farmers have achieved a record 79 percent reduction in phosphorous levels this year, which is three times better than what is required by state law. This continues a trend in which farmers have reduced phosphorous levels by an average of 56 percent annually over the past 20 years and represents a true victory for residents of the region and Everglades restoration efforts.

Farming opponents fought these best management practices in court – claiming they weren’t stringent enough – and forced the government to spend critical taxpayer dollars to defend its decisions. The appeals court flatly rejected those arguments, stating that the on-farm practices are exceeding state goals. While opponents were busy waging their legal battles, sugarcane farmers were working every day on the front lines of water clean-up and Everglades restoration, and their progress over the last 20 years is undeniable.

“With this court case behind us, we look forward to building on these successes and continuing our efforts to fund research on effective Best Management Practices that improve water quality in South Florida,” said Hughes. “On behalf of thousands of Floridians working in the Everglades Agricultural Area, we thank members of the South Florida Water Management District for their recognition of this historic accomplishment and also for their leadership on this issue. Working together, we can continue to clean water flowing to the Everglades.”

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