A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services representative outlines water availability, immigration and agricultural research as top threats for Florida agriculture.

“Current projections anticipate a total water demand for the state of 9.3 billion gallons a day by 2020, an increase of nearly 2 billion gallons a day from 1995 levels,” said Shannon Shepp, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Deputy Commissioner. “Water is a limited resource and we must find alternative supplies.”

Shepp who spoke at the American Seed Trade Association’s 51stVegetable & Flower Seed Conference said agriculture plays an important role in Florida’s water use and supply.

“Florida has one of the most effective and progressive water management programs in the country,” she said. “Through conservation efforts and recommendations made by the department, agriculture is using less water.

“With more precise application of fertilizer, less is needed. Water control structures have been implemented and many operations and landowners are recycling water and cleaning it up as it passes through their land.”

There is a huge battle over water between constituents who are growers and those who are not growers, Shepp explained. We have a lot of statistics that back us up saying that agriculture has reduced their water consumption and is reusing it for multiple purposes, she noted.