Family Farm Recognized for Environmental Leadership

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Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam (far right) pictured with the Lykes family and the CARES award.

Lykes Bros., Inc. was honored for its environmental stewardship with a County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) award on Oct. 18.

Lykes Bros. has grown a 500-acre Brooksville farm to more than 610,000 acres in Florida and Texas.

A leader in agribusiness for more than 100 years, Lykes Bros. Inc. fully invests in responsible stewardship on a diverse operation. The company raises beef cattle, grows citrus as well as a variety of row crops, and runs a pine and eucalyptus forestry operation throughout Highlands, Glades and Polk counties.

The family agribusiness has implemented best management practices (BMPs) for nearly 40 years. In 2007, Lykes Bros. enrolled in the Florida BMP Program to help reduce water and nutrient use and improve water quality throughout all of the parcels it farms and ranches on.  Implementing BMPs has been a natural fit with one of its core values of honoring its heritage through good stewardship.

The CARES program was established by Florida Farm Bureau and the Suwannee River Partnership in 2001 to recognize superior natural resource conservation by agricultural producers. The program relies on action by farmers and ranchers to implement state-of-the-art natural resource management systems, or BMPs, on their properties.

“Florida’s farmers and ranchers answer the call to protect our environment while also producing our food supply,” said Florida Farm Bureau CARES Coordinator Cacee Hilliard.

Florida farmers and ranchers depend upon the life-sustaining capacity of the natural resources they manage to maintain their livelihoods. Nearly 800 agriculturists statewide have received the CARES award since the program was established.

In partnership with more than 60 public agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida’s water management districts, agricultural organizations, businesses and local government, CARES has become a model for the rest of the nation.

Source: Florida Farm Bureau Federation

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