Featured Sustainable Producer Spotlight Story
Adrian and Melissa LandContact: Abby Johnson, Office of Communications
Suwannee River Water Management District
386.362.1001 or 800.226.1066 (FL)
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Suwannee Valley BMP Success Story — Adrian and Melissa Land
LIVE OAK, FLA, August 31, 2015 — Adrian Land and his wife Melissa Land are sixth - generation ranchers in Suwannee County. The Lands live in Branford on their family farm with their son Adrian Land II and daughter Arica. In 1993, the Lands started their own farm, which has grown into a 5,000 acre farm and ranch, where the family has pine straw, watermelons, beef cattle and hay. Most importantly, the Land family uses Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect natural resources and conserve water.
Over the years, the Lands have witnessed many changes in agriculture, ranging from implementation of field and packinghouse food safety to adoption of new efficient drip irrigation methods. When asked about changing conservation methods in farming to help improve the environment, the Lands made it clear that, “the worst thing you can do in ag is to not be willing to change.”
The Lands have made many improvements to conserve water and protect natural resources. These improvements include implementing BMPs involving crop irrigations, crop rotation, controlled spraying methods, and protecting wetlands with a 100-yard setback.
By participating in the cost-share program with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Lands are using moisture probes to help monitor how much irrigation their fields need. Soil moisture probes help lower water usage, which also reduces irrigation frequencies. With the installation of soil moisture probes, the Lands hope to cut water usage by half. The Lands have also switched to using mostly drip irrigation. Using drip irrigation greatly reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation, therefore reducing the amount of water used for irrigation.
Strict regulations have presented many challenges to farmers and, specifically in the Lands' case, when it comes to processing. However, the Lands have worked closely with members of the Suwannee County Extension team to ensure they are following all the food safety regulations for marketing the watermelons that they grow. They have also implemented BMPs that improve the farm's efficiency in water and fertilizer use.
With the many different and increasing challenges farmers are facing each day—ranging from increased regulations to ensuring the health of the environment that they rely on so heavily, the Lands have been and continue to be a shining example of farmers who take every measure they can to protect our natural resources.
This story is the third in a series of articles provided in partnership with the Suwannee River Water Management District, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Suwannee River Partnership and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Agriculture Water Policy. This series highlights the remarkable work of local farmers practicing sustainable and environmental best management practices.
The Sustainable Producer Spotlight is offered as a celebration of those who practice sustainable and organic agriculture and is not intended as an endorsement of the featured operations or products.
This page was last updated on: December 18, 2015