Seven Local Growers Awarded $860K for Water Conservation Projects

St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register reported to Historic City News that the District’s Governing Board on Tuesday approved seven contracts worth $860,000 in cost-share funds to assist local growers with projects intended to decrease water usage by 44 million gallons a year.

The money is part of the Tri-County Agricultural Area Water Management Partnership Cost-Share Program, which was created to support farmers and growers in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties who take on projects which conserve water and reduce nutrient loading.

“Implementing projects like these not only benefit the environment, but also the growers by saving them money and allowing them to maintain the long-term sustainability of their operations,” said Register. “The continued commitment by the District’s Governing Board and our funding partners is a testament to the importance of continuing to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into our waterways.”

Over 50 percent of this year’s approved projects involve the installation of precision fertilizer equipment, which reduces the amount of fertilizer being applied to crops through more accurate placement. 

The St Johns County farms and projects that were green-lighted this year are:

  • Jeff Parker Farms (St. Johns County) – Irrigation conversion
  • Smith and Johns, Inc. (St. Johns County) – Irrigation conversion
  • Tater Farms (St. Johns County) – Installation of precision fertilizer equipment
  • Wesley Smith (St. Johns County) – Installation of precision fertilizer equipment
  • YuAn Farms (St. Johns County) – Irrigation conversion

Under the program, approved projects receive a maximum of 75 percent of cooperative funding (not to exceed $250,000), which can go toward design, construction and implementation of water-conserving technologies.

The projects aim to cut down on harmful nutrients getting into local water bodies such as the St. Johns River.

Over 158 projects have been funded since the program was developed.