Indian River Citrus Growers Receive Accolades

Randall Weiseman Citrus, Florida

Florida Farm Bureau CARES program honored six citrus growers for their environmental stewardship at the Indian River Citrus Seminar. Tom Jerkins of Blue Goose Growers LLC, Glen Barnes and Tommy Barnes of Barnes Citrus, Peter McClure, Evans Bluefield, Robert Edsall of Edsall Groves and James Hoffman of Estes Citrus Inc. for their outstanding efforts in implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs).

CARES, which stands for County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship, began in 1999 with the formation of the Suwannee River Partnership in North Florida. CARES and the Partnership were formed to address environmental concerns, and promote economically viable BMPs and conservation planning while recognizing farmers as stewards. The CARES program works in conjunction with the University of Florida/IFAS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This program also supports incentive based, voluntary programs instead of command and control regulation.

“We feel that it is important to recognize these six growers for taking the time and effort to implement practices that are environmentally friendly,” said John Hoblick, president of Florida Farm Bureau. “We see their operations as examples of the steps that Florida’s farmers and ranchers are taking to produce safe, affordable and abundant food while being good stewards of the environment.”

The CARES recipients were recognized in front of their peers at the Indian River Citrus League Banquet on Tuesday evening and again at the Indian River Citrus Seminar. Each received a plaque and a grove sign identifying them as a grower who cares.

The Florida Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general agricultural association with more than 138,000 member-families statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, the Federation is an independent, non-profit agricultural organization and is not associated with any arm of the government. For more information about the CARES program, visit their website.