The Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA) is requesting a moratorium on Best Management Practices (BMP) site visits which would alleviate additional burdens placed on farmers impacted by Hurricane Ian.
The FFVA sent a letter to Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried on Thursday, requesting a six-month moratorium.
“In an attempt to alleviate any additional burdens on our growers during this challenging time, particularly for our citrus producers as they contend with an estimated 8% to 11% loss of viable trees, I respectfully request that the department defer by a minimum of six months any planned BMP Implementation Verification site visits, regardless of commodity, for those producers hit hardest by the hurricane,” said Michael Joyner, president of the FFVA in the letter included. “This would include any enrolled agricultural operations located within an area that encountered Category 1-4 strength hurricane force winds.”
The association also requested a fertilizer application exemption for growers impacted by the storm. Fertilizer applications that are required for fall and winter crops were washed away due to extreme levels of rainfall and flooding brought on by Ian.
Enrolled producers who are attempting to salvage their remaining growing season now face fears of not being in compliance with their BMP manuals due to additional applications of fertilizer needed to replace what was lost. The proposed one-time exemption would only apply to those farmers impacted by the hurricane and would not absolve them from compliance with record-keeping requirements or other BMPs they agreed to implement.
Click here to read the letter.