With over 12 million acres of pasture land in Florida, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the Florida Department of Agriculture are determined to cultivate clean resources in the state. That means implementing pollution prevention and reduction strategies. Organizations have worked together to accomplish this in a number of ways, including recommending “best management practices” (BMPs) for ranchers to use to protect the valuable water system. 

The question begs, do these best management practices, among other efforts, really work? Are they having an impact on water purity throughout the state? While significant effort has been made to spread these BMPs to ranchers, little research has been done on the effects of the BMPs implemented.

That’s where Dr. Golmar Golmohammadi comes in. This year, she joined the team at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center as an assistant professor of soil and water sciences. Her research will focus on the water resources affected by grazing lands throughout central and southern Florida. 

Her work will include developing best practices for conserving water and maintaining high water quality for farmland and consumers. The data she’ll collect, combined with implementation strategies and education to ranchers in Florida, will show the economic and environmental benefits that come from protecting this precious resource.

Researchers can determine how well these BMPs and other experiments are working to reduce water pollution by measuring sediment and nutrient loads in water supplies. For example, water irrigation that isn’t properly managed will flow off into streams and ditches, causing the farmer to spend more on water than is needed, as it’s not being used effectively. The same goes for loose nutrients, whether that be fertilizers for pastures or feed for cattle. When these aren’t properly managed, they can easily pollute water supplies. 

Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch strives to do its part in maintaining a healthy community by managing our pastures to prevent erosion and pollution. We look toward a future where more is known about the best strategies to do so. To see what we’re up to, visit our ranch for an agritour.