Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has announced that the deadline for submitting nominations for the Commissioner's 2009 Agriculture Environmental Leadership Awards is April 1.

Now in its 16th year, the awards recognize environmentally innovative farming practices of the state's growers and ranchers. The program honors agricultural producers who demonstrate a dedication to preserving the environment and conserving natural resources while helping ensure a continuing supply of food and fiber. Since its inception, the awards program has recognized cattle, dairy, fruit and vegetable, small grain, sod, nursery, tropical fish, citrus and timber producers.

"We know there are numerous agricultural operations that are doing remarkable things to preserve and protect the environment," Bronson said. "We want to know who they are so we can recognize them."

The selection process begins with a nomination form. Nominees then are judged by an independent committee that includes representatives from major agricultural groups, environmental organizations and government agencies.

To obtain a nomination form or to receive more information about the program visit http://www.florida-agriculture.com/agenvironmental/index.htm or contact Ms. Stacey Dallis Reese at (850) 488-3731