Best Management Practices (BMP)s
U.S. Sugar has pioneered the implementation of special land and water management systems called Best Management Practices (BMPs) developed in partnership with University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences to minimize phosphorus runoff.

Environmental Stewardship Since 1995, water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) has achieved phosphorus reductions that were more than the 25 percent reduction required by the Everglades Forever Act. The South Florida Water Management District reports that for the 2010 monitoring period show a 41 percent phosphorus reduction in the 470,000-acre EAA farming region south of Lake Okeechobee. For nearly 20 years sugar farmers have reduced phosphorus by an average of 55%.

The soil in the farming area is naturally very high in phosphorus, as a result of sediment built up by Lake Okeechobee spilling over its banks, which can run off into ground water. Soil sediments — not fertilizer — carried in farm runoff are a potential source of phosphorus in the water. To reduce potential for phosphorous runoff, BMPs include:
  • removing phosphorus-containing sediment from canals and ditches before the water leaves Company property,
  • refined fertilizer application,
  • precise stormwater pumping practices and
  • erosion controls, such as laser leveling fields to reduce or stop wind erosion.
Thanks to the Company’s careful water management, U.S. Sugar farming operations contribute four gallons of water to South Florida’s water supply for each gallon they use.