Suwannee River Farmers Recognized for CARE-ing

May 12, 2015

Fourteen agriculturists were recognized for their exceptional natural resource conservation with a County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) award at the 15th annual Suwannee River Partnership recognition dinner on May 7 at the UF/IFAS Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center.

The CARES recognition dinner honored farmers and ranchers who have implemented science-based and field-tested Best Management Practices (BMPs) that conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources on their properties.   The following farmers were recognized for caring for the environment: Herbert Marlowe and Vernon Vinzant of Alachua County; Doug Green, A.B. and Terry Whitehead of Bradford County: Thomas Bryant of Columbia County; Larry and McCoy Hilliard of Gilchirst County; Wilbur Dean and Jeff Starnes of Levy County; Mark Chaples, J.P. Cobb, Kenny Mize, Scott Randell and Tommy Taylor of Suwannee County; and Delbert Smith of Union County.

Farm owners who have implemented BMPs that have been inspected and certified by state officials are awarded the CARES distinction and an identifying CARES sign to post on their properties, which recognizes them for their commitment as environmental stewards.

“Our agricultural producers are true stewards of the land and the promise of a bright future as we continue to grow and move agriculture into the future,” said Kevin Morgan, assistant to the president at Florida Farm Bureau. “The CARES program is at the forefront of telling your stories because of the great strides you are making to protect the environment.”

The CARES program was created by Florida Farm Bureau and the Suwannee River Partnership in 2001 to promote public recognition of state-of-the art agricultural conservation techniques. In partnership with more than 60 public agencies, CARES has become a model for the rest of the nation.  More than 650 agriculturists statewide have received the CARES award.