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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 183-183 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations: Proceedings of the March 11-13, 2002 Conference, (Fort Worth, Texas, USA)  701P0102.(doi:10.13031/2013.7552)
Authors:   Mike Thomas, Camilo Gaitan
Keywords:   BMP, TMDL, cattle, water quality, phosphorus, nitrate

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program requirements of the federal Clean Water Act are requiring states to develop new initiatives for managing agricultural nonpoint sources. In Florida, public agencies and the agricultural community are taking the lead in implementing a watershed-based process for BMP development, demonstration, refinement, and implementation to reduce nutrient loadings.

In June 1997, the Environmental Committee of the Florida Cattlemen's Association met with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and UF/IFAS, and took the initiative to begin the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for cow/calf operations in Florida. The objective was to develop BMPs that have the potential to improve surface and ground water quality and reduce the quantity of runoff water draining into the sensitive rivers, lakes, and estuaries. By adopting and enacting the BMPs, ranchers hoped to minimize the effects of regulation, legislation, and litigation concerning the EPA's establishment of total maximum daily loads. Over the course of 30 months, the BMP process produced an extensive BMP manual. A related project, Funded but a USEPA Section 319 grant, initiated a series of workshops and on-farm demonstrations, produced additional educational materials, and identified areas where further research is necessary. This paper briefly describes the BMPs developed by the cattle industry, explains the reasons BMPs are needed, documents the process, and presents the outreach and education program used to disseminate that information.

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