Resiliency and Innovation
These are two words were that were spoken about multiple times at our last Wedgworth in the Field at Butler Oaks Dairy and at Lykes Brothers’ newest project, the Brighton Valley Water Project.
Both businesses and families are doing their best to be both resilient and innovative for their industries and with their land use.
Mr. Ben Butler (Class IX) was gracious enough to show us around his family dairy. If you are familiar with the location of his dairy it is right along the Kissimmee River that flows into Lake Okeechobee. Ben and his family have not only been resilient to the pressures we all know the dairy industry has faced in recent years, but they also have been innovative with their water projects continue the family’s operation. In total, Ben stated that the family has participated in 7-8 projects that has led to total confinement of the water from the dairy. No water leaving the dairy is untreated.
Continuing our trip further South, our next visit was to Lykes Brothers’ newly finished Brighton Valley Water Project. Mr. Noah Handley (Class IX) and Mr. Joe Collins (Class VII) showed us around the newly completed pump station. Brighton Valley is an 8,200-acre stormwater storage and treatment area on a canal that runs from Lake Istokpoga from the north and runs to Lake Okeechobee to the South. This land was previously used for their cow calf operation. This is the third project that Lykes Brothers has completed. Among their three water projects, they make a measurable difference in the phosphorus load into Lake Okeechobee.
Both businesses are being resilient and innovative in their own ways and scales to be able to continue to be successful in production agriculture and to ultimately do their part in the reduction of contaminates Lake Okeechobee.