Soil and Water Science Program
The Soil and Water Science program at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) provides a balance of research and extension activities relating to crop nutrition and water management. Best management practice (BMP) development and implementation in southwest Florida is relatively recent (<10 yrs). Therefore, growers need field data validating the effects of BMPs on production and profits under conditions unique to this area of the state. Likewise, regulators with federal and state organizations (e.g. U.S. EPA, Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and South Florida Water Management District) need solid science on which to evaluate the effectiveness of present BMPs and to determine the need for additional BMPs to be implemented in the future. Focus crops in the southwest Florida area are citrus, sugarcane, and vegetables.
Maintenance of the ecological balance between efficient agricultural production and protecting natural areas while providing for urban land uses is more difficult in south Florida than any other areas of the state. Thus, dissemination of strong, science-based information on the effect of nutrient and water management BMPs is critical to the adoption and implementation of these improved production practices. The program's extension efforts provide growers in southwest Florida with the latest nutrient and water management information through grower meetings, workshops, trade journal articles, websites, publications (including state grower organizations and EDIS documentation), and field demonstrations.