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Florida’s $3.5B Executive Order to Restore the Everglades: How Citrus Growers Can Get Onboard

On January 10, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DiSantos signed an executive order making $3.5 billion available for projects to restore the Everglades and improve the state’s water quality. The Executive Order directs strategic action with a focus on accountability, sound science, progress, and collaboration. The multi-billion dollar investment over the next four years is the highest level of funding in Florida’s history. Read the official press release here.

The order specifically mentions the need to address agricultural runoff:

Expand the existing Wastewater Grant Program by broadening project eligibility to address impacts to water quality from nonpoint sources such as storm water and agricultural runoff.

In decades past, chemicals and fertilizers such as phosphorus have caused significant damage to the Everglades. The good news is that Florida farmers have made tremendous progress in reducing chemical run off, which in turn improves environmental health.

Still, there is much to be done to reduce chemical run off and drift as witnessed by the new state funding. That’s where the Smart Apply®, Inc. Intelligent Spray Control System can be of service to farmers. Enabled by advanced LiDAR and proprietary software, our system is designed for spraying specialty crops like citrus fruits. In addition to reducing chemical use by an average of 50%, the Smart Apply System reduces chemical run off by up to 93% and THe system stops spraying when no tree is detected. air borne drift by up to 87%. This is possible through precision spraying that applies chemicals based on tree size and density.

Citrus growers in Australia have embraced the Smart Apply System. View video demonstration here showing how chemicals are precisely applied to orange trees. Note there is no continuous spraying of chemicals. Drift and run off are minimal.

There is a second and very important function of the Smart Apply System. As the farmer sprays, the system automatically captures a wealth of data related to the spray session such as spray volume by individual tree and entire sections. Data is stored to the Cloud so the farmer has a digital record of all spray sessions, chemicals used, volumes of chemicals, etc. This data can be used for regulatory reporting as well as grove operations.

Florida’s executive order stresses the importance of sound science. It is worth noting that the technology behind the Smart Apply System was developed and proven over ten years by the USDA. Multiple research universities have confirmed the benefits of the Smart Apply System. Learn more here.

Taking advantage of the Smart Apply System’s significant environmental benefits is simple. It is sold as a kit that can be retrofitted to virtually any air blast sprayer. Find an authorized dealer here.

We commend the State of Florida for this proactive action to protect the state’s irreplaceable ecosystem. We also invite the Florida citrus industry to look closely at the Smart Apply System and how it advances the sustainability of your industry.

Learn more here> https://www.smartapply.com