While activists point fingers at farmers, actual data points to excessive rain

EAA farmers - cabbage day
It’s clear the activists would prefer to eradicate farmers from the region.

Environmental activists Daniel Andrews, Erik Eikenberg, James Evans and Mark Perry penned an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel this week villainizing Florida farmers.

The attacks should come as no surprise. Their attacks on American farmers help generate media and raise money to support their activist operations. But unfortunately for them, the data tells another story.

While the activists point fingers at Florida farmers for all the water flooding the Everglades, the evidence reveals more than 70% of the water comes from excessive rainfall this season.

At the South Florida Water Management District meeting in Kissimmee Thursday, John Mitnik, chief engineer for the South Florida Water Management District, provided a detailed presentation on the source of water flows into the Everglades from May 1 to date.

“Last month there was a fair amount of discussion about all the water that was stacked up,” Mitnik said. “There were conversations and questions about where that water came from.”

According to Mitnik, just shy of 2.4 million acre feet of water stacked up in the conservation areas comes from the direct rain over the region.

“About 720,000 acre feet would be attributed to the Everglades Agricultural Area. Compare that to the overall water — that’s about 19 to 20% of the water in the Everglades came from the EAA,” Mitnik explained.

For decades, Florida farmers have supported Everglades restoration. They play an integral role in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to restore, preserve, and protect the South Florida ecosystem.

It’s clear the activists would prefer to eradicate farmers from the region. Such an aggressive move would not only be harmful to the CERP and the overall environment, but it would also threaten our domestic food supply, according to advocates for the industry.

“Florida farmers bring many environmental benefits to the region. They protect our natural landscape, provide critical wildlife habitat and protect and restore precious water sources,” said Jim Spratt, Chair of the Florida Ag Coalition. “In addition, Florida farmers produce the fresh vegetables that will be served on dining tables across the nation this Thanksgiving.”

South Florida is the nation’s leading producer of sugarcane, fresh sweet corn, and sweet bell peppers. The region leads the state in the production of rice, lettuce, radishes, Chinese vegetables, specialty leaf and celery.

With Thanksgiving just days away, there are 179 million Americans who live East of the Mississippi River that are dependent on the fresh vegetables harvested in South Florida to serve their families.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


3 comments

  • tom palmer

    November 10, 2023 at 8:44 pm

    What a vapid piece of stenography. What the environmental community advocates is that the state’s pollution laws should be mandatory instead of voluntary for agribusiness. The claim that people want to get rid of farms is just rhetoric by the ag lobbyists..

  • uMho

    November 10, 2023 at 9:47 pm

    Agricultural runoff in the Everglades is easy to detect. You don’t have to rely solely on inferences from scattered rainfall data. Ag runoff enters in certain places and it differs greatly in chemistry ftom rainfall and Everglades background water. A simple field conductivity meter could tell in most cases. But inferences are easier to manipulate.

  • DocMarnieG

    November 13, 2023 at 9:06 am

    Please don’t conflate Florida’s farms with Big Sugar, which is who was referenced in the original article. The sugar industry, of all the agribusinesses in Florida, should be willing and able to do the right thing, especially since they are heavily subsidized by us, the taxpayers.

Comments are closed.


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