Ensuring clean water enters the Everglades is a top priority of farmers. Over the past two decades, U.S. Sugar and other farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area have reduced the amount of phosphorus leaving their farms by an average of 55 percent a year. That far exceeds the 25 percent annual reduction required by law. In 2016, farmers continued to make significant progress in Everglades restoration despite the record rainfall due to El Niño weather patterns. The long-term performance of best management practices shows that farmers are exceeding phosphorus reduction targets year-after-year.
Thanks to advanced soil and water management practices, water flowing off farmland is significantly cleaner than when it enters. Today, more than 90 percent of the Everglades meets water quality standards set by the federal Everglades Forever Act. Once the projects associated with the Everglades Restoration Strategies are completed, they will raise that percentage to 100.
In August 2015, the South Florida Water Management District issued a proclamation recognizing the efforts of the Everglades Agricultural Area farmers over the past 20 years to reduce the amount of nutrients in the water entering the Everglades. U.S. Sugar, through its on- farm best management practices, has been a leader in that achievement.