Farmers and ranchers understand the importance of taking care of the earth around us perhaps better than anyone. Ranches like Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch form a relationship with the earth, and if we don’t take care of our land, it can’t help provide for our needs. What we do affects others around us too, which is what the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Best Management Practices (BMPs) program seeks to recognize. Learn about BMPs and how we can work to be good stewards of them in today’s article. For more farming resources, visit our blog

What are BMPs?
Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been established as effective means that can be implemented by all to improve water quality. There are three categories: nutrient management, including manure, to minimize the impact on water resources; irrigation management to reduce water and nutrient loss, and water protection like swells and buffers to prevent sediment transport. Learn more about stewardship on our blog

What do they accomplish?
Farmers work with BMPs to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads leaving their properties. Since the program’s conception in 2005, over 5 million acres of Florida agricultural land have been enrolled in BMP programs. Change makes a big difference; it is estimated that every dollar invested in agricultural research results in a return of $20 in productivity. 

What are some examples?
BMPs are heavily researched and tested and designed to be implemented by all. Farmers can practice BMP by maintaining vegetative cover and practice proper pasture rotation methods, as well-established forage will stand the test of erosion. It’s important to also carefully plan your feeding, watering, and holding sites to prevent wear and tear or poor drainage. Putting preparation into your pasture management will help you, your cattle, your ranch, and the community around you. 

Interested in taking a tour of Dark Hammock or learning more about how we implement BMPs here on the ranch? Join us for an agritour; we’d love to have you!