Those of us in agriculture work hard to protect our resources. We have to take care of the environment because it is important to us. Our lands provide critical environmental services, such as water storage, water filtration and habitat for many species of wildlife.


As a timber grower and cattle rancher, I’ve been advocating for agriculture and its benefits to the environment for decades.


With my husband and son and other valuable employees, we run a production business that was started by my grandfather. We also raise cattle on Usher family-owned lands. We have implemented agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) in our logging operations and on our ranch to preserve our precious land and water.


In Florida's forest industry, BMPs have been in place for 40 years. These are common-sense approaches to protect the land and natural waterways while logging. For example, BMPs require that we protect water quality by reducing or eliminating forestry-related inputs of sediment and logging debris that can adversely affect aquatic communities.


BMPs help all of us in diverse sectors of agriculture protect our water resources and mitigate our impact on the environment.


BMPs provide technologically innovative solutions and efficient management of our state’s agricultural lands to conserve water and prevent runoff. BMP development came about through a cooperative effort with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the state’s water management districts, local governments, universities and other stakeholders, and have been approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. They are proven to be effective in restoring the health of Florida’s water resources.


Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s Blue Green Algae Task Force issued recommendations last year to address a number of sources that can affect the health of our waters, including preventing wastewater discharges, converting septic tanks to sewer and strengthening agricultural BMPs.


These recommendations are based on sound science, and they are part of a comprehensive approach to a complex problem. Currently, the Florida Legislature is considering a number of legislative measures that would implement these recommendations, including updating BMPs to incorporate the latest science and technology.


I fully support these changes and encourage our legislators to support comprehensive water reform as well. We, in agriculture, are working diligently to provide benefits to the environment, while also providing critical products to Floridians. Let’s work together to preserve our water and lands.


Lynetta Usher Griner, an owner and operator of Usher Land & Timber in Chiefland, co-chairs the Florida Climate-Smart Agriculture Working Group. She was named the 2013 Woman of the Year in Florida Agriculture and the 2018 Sunbelt Ag Expo Florida Farmer of the Year. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Florida Forestry Association and served a decade as chair of the Suwannee River Water Management District.