SBA Loans for Freeze, Frost, and Ice Occurring during Jan. 2022
FLORIDA Declaration 17376 (Disaster: FL-00174) Incident: FREEZE, FROST, AND ICE occurring: January 23 - 31, 2022 in the Florida counties of: Broward, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Saint Lucie, and Sarasota; and the contiguous Florida counties of: Brevard, Charlotte, Lake, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sumter
Application Filing Deadline: November 21, 2022
The SBA is offering loan assistance for losses or damage that occurred to aquaculture facilities during the extreme cold weather that occurred from Jan. 23rd to Jan. 31st of 2022. Please see the two attached documents for more information and contact your local SBA office with any further questions. The application deadline for this assistance is Nov. 21st, 2022.
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FACT SHEET – ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS
SBA Working Capital Loans Available in Florida for Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration Due to Freeze, Frost and Ice in January
Oyster South Symposium
Registration Now Open!
Think you might be ready for a change of scenery in early February? The Oyster South Symposium is going forward with plans for its 2022 industry-focused symposium Feb. 3-5 in Biloxi, MS. The meeting will be held on the beautiful campus grounds of the Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art under a tent (with tent walls and heaters there if necessary but hopefully not!).
The fifth Oyster South Symposium is a meeting to bring together producers, gear suppliers, distributors, chefs, food writers, vendors, researchers, students and managers from the southeast region to discuss pressing issues and relevant, practical research on oyster aquaculture. The Symposium is being hosted by Oyster South, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to connecting communities and providing resources to foster the success of oyster farming in the southern United States. This meeting is intended for industry members, and the program is coming together with a broad selection of applied research and presentations from production questions to marketing.
Current Oyster South paid members will receive heavily discounted registration, with 20% off by entering a code that you will be emailed! If you are not a current member, you can join here.
Registration includes admission to all informational sessions (all day Friday and Saturday), all breaks, the director's reception on Thursday night, lunch on Friday (Saturday on your own), the 'Shuck and Tell' on Friday night, and the trade show. Don't wait to buy tickets. Early bird prices will last until December 22nd.
You can purchase tickets here. Please email Beth Walton, Executive Director, Oyster South, with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essential Veterinary Medicines and Vaccines for Aquatic Food Producing Animals Survey
The World Veterinary Association (WVA) has launched a project to create a global list of essential veterinary medicines for livestock. To support the specific working groups in creating the global list, the WVA would like to kindly ask for your valuable input by filling out this short survey specific to aquaculture (it takes less than 10 minutes). Responses will be held confidential.
The results of the survey will be shared with the global veterinary community and your contribution will help form an accurate picture of the current reality and what needs to change.
We would like to thank you in advance for your kind contributions and for disseminating the survey further to your members and colleagues. Click here to access the survey: https://forms.gle/Jf1UTFTBeGpgaxLu5.
This effort is also being done globally for all domesticated species. For example, the results for dogs and cats can be found at: WSAVA List of Essential Medicines for Cats and Dogs - WSAVA
While the survey on Essential Medicines for Aquatic Food Species is pretty high level, please fill it out in as much detail as possible. Those who wish to see additional therapeutants in their aquatics tool kit please be sure to fill out the last few questions.
Please note the short timeline for response – December 14th.
Stakeholder Listening Sessions
Announced for a New
Aquaculture Information Exchange
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant Office, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Ocean Service, and the US Department Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in response to interagency discussions of aquaculture science needs as well as a longstanding community need to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration, have identified the need for establishing the Aquaculture Information Exchange (AIE).
It is envisioned that the AIE will be an online community based on distributed teams involving individuals from both the public and private sector (e.g., researchers, Sea Grant and Land Grant extension professionals, and stakeholders) with interests in U.S. aquaculture (both freshwater and marine) and related topics. It will be a communications platform facilitating discussions about the latest research and developments in aquaculture, and will provide a space where experts from across the nation can connect with like-minded collaborators.
The overall mission of the AIE will be to establish a continually evolving online space for the aquaculture community built on trust, expertise, and common vision and it is envisioned that the AIE will be a place where members feel empowered to ask, answer, and learn from one another to create the science needed for responsible aquaculture development in the United States.
The agencies are familiar there have been predecessors to the AIE and they are hoping to engage folks as part of the listening session in order to design a system that works for current needs and communities - both from learning from the past and focusing on the present. They are also looking to find the value of national coordination of existing efforts.
The date, time, and Google Meets link to virtual listening sessions are as follows:
Midwest/North Central Region: Tuesday, 12/14, 2:00 pm ET - meet.google.com/wab-sdny-ygw, 929-251-5749 PIN: 184 045 368#
Western Region and Alaska: Tuesday, 12/14, 4:00 pm ET - meet.google.com/ihn-xatv-mtm, 252-499-0129 PIN: 658 660 989#
Hawaii/Pacific Region: Tuesday 12/14, 6:00 pm ET - meet.google.com/swf-epnx-fov, 443-892-3232 PIN: 172 343 467#
New England/mid-Atlantic Region: Wednesday 12/15, 10:00 am ET - meet.google.com/thz-waof-ptv, 475-328-0423 PIN: 896 186 714#
Southern Region: Wednesday 12/15, 3:00 pm ET - meet.google.com/hoj-zmdy-qwv, 347-699-3941 PIN: 746 031 623#
For additional information or for questions, contact Chuck Weirich or Mark Rath at email@example.com.
AQUA 2022 Abstracts
Re-Opened until November 22nd
The Steering Committee for Aquaculture 2022 (AQUA 2020) is in the final stages of setting up the conference program and still has room for oral abstracts in the over 80 sessions on a wide range of aquaculture-related topics.
If you have not done so, please submit your abstract online right away. If the Steering Committee receives your abstract submissions by November 22, 2021, they can place your abstract in an appropriate session. After that date, there may not be room for submissions in the most appropriate session. You may end up presenting on a soap box next to the public restroom at the Tin Fish Building within Gaslamp Quarter Park. The weather might be the nice; the audience indifferent.
Visit the AQUA 2022 website, https://www.was.org/Meeting/Abstract/Submit/AQ2022, and submit your abstract!
The AQUA 2022 triennial meeting of the World Aquaculture Society, National Shellfisheries Association, Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society and National Aquaculture Association will soon be taking place in San Diego California from February 28 to March 4, 2022.
Emergency Temporary Standard
COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing
Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on mandatory “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing” under section 6(c)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, except for covered employers that adopt an alternative policy of requiring employees to undergo regular COVID–19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
OSHA has determined that a grave danger exists that necessitates the ETS and that the ETS is both technically and economically feasible for covered employers. The rule is effective immediately and employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days and with testing requirements within 60 days. The ETS is open for public comment through December 6, 2021.
For additional information, including OSHA summaries and fact sheets about the ETS, please visit OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing webpage.
Read OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing here: Federal Register :: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard
Comments are due by December 6, 2021, and can be filed at www.regulations.gov at Federal Register :: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard (Docket No. OSHA–2021–0007-0001).
Call for Statements of Interest: Florida Aquaculture Review Council FY 23-24
The Florida Aquaculture Review Council, an advisory council to the Commissioner of Agriculture, is pleased to announce a Call for Statements of Interest to perform applied aquaculture research and economic development projects during Florida fiscal year 2023-24 (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024). The full application guide, including a detailed list of research priorities, is attached to this email and can also be found on our website here under "Program Resources". Please note that the templates in this document are fillable.
Applicants must submit their complete Statement of Interest to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture, no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on December 10, 2021. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. All questions about this funding opportunity and complete statements of interest should be directed to Dr. Marcy Cockrell at Marcy.Cockrell@FDACS.gov. Please share this announcement widely with any relevant colleagues.
Senators Reintroduce AQUAA Act
to Advance American Aquaculture
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the bipartisan S 3100 Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act to establish national standards for sustainable offshore aquaculture.
The bill would designate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the lead federal agency for marine aquaculture. The legislation would also direct NOAA to harmonize the permitting system for offshore aquaculture for farms in federal waters, and direct the agency to lead a research and development grant program to spur innovation throughout the industry. The senators first introduced the legislation in September 2020. Click here to read the reintroduced legislation.
“Marine aquaculture presents an enormous opportunity for Florida’s economy and for the food security of our nation,” Rubio said. “Unfortunately, the absence of a federal permitting and regulatory framework has hindered American aquaculture industries. This bipartisan legislation would establish a transparent permitting process and provide regulatory certainty for this important industry to promote new domestic seafood supply chains.”
“Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector, but the U.S. lacks a comprehensive, nationwide system for permitting in federal waters,” Wicker said. “This deficiency prevents the development of aquaculture farms, leading to more seafood imports. Our legislation would establish national standards for offshore aquaculture, enabling U.S. producers to create jobs and meet the growing demand for fresh, local seafood.”
“Hawai‘i’s diverse aquaculture produced over $80 million of finfish, shellfish, and algae in 2019. At the same time, the movement to restore native Hawaiian fishponds such as those at He‘eia and Maunalua continues to develop momentum. This bipartisan bill would increase federal support for both,” Schatz said. “I thank Senators Wicker and Rubio for their partnership, and look forward to working with them to pass this groundbreaking legislation.”
Aquaculture refers to the farming of fish, shellfish, and algae in water for food. Over 90 percent of the seafood in the United States is imported, 50 percent of which is derived from aquaculture. Currently, there are no active aquaculture farms in U.S. federal waters.
S 3100, Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act, would:
Uphold existing environmental standards while providing regulatory certainty and clarity to the industry;
Include a set of national standards to guide development of offshore aquaculture, and aquaculture management plans that implement those standards on a regional scale;
Include a national plan to identify and establish areas particularly well-suited for aquaculture, similar to the President’s recent Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth;
Establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within NOAA, which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process;
Establish a permit through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation; and,
Fund research and extension services to support innovation and the growth of aquaculture in the United States.
NOAA Seeking Input on Conserving
and Restoring America the Beautiful
Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced an opportunity for the public to share input on ways NOAA can advance the goals and recommendations in the report on “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful”. The public comment period will be open for 60 days, through December 28, 2021.
On January 27, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Section 216(a) directed “the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the heads of other relevant agencies to produce a report to the National Climate Task Force that recommends steps for conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” It also directs NOAA, among other federal agencies, to “solicit input from state, local, Tribal, and territorial officials, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, and other key stakeholders in identifying strategies that will encourage broad participation in [this] goal.”
In response, on May 6, 2021, the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, and CEQ released the Report as a preliminary step. The Report recommends a decade-long national initiative to advance locally led conservation and restoration in public, private, and Tribal lands and waters to address three threats: disappearance of nature loss, climate change, and inequitable access to the outdoors. To guide implementation, the Report includes eight core principles and six areas for early focus and progress.
Since the release of the Report, NOAA has been actively seeking input from stakeholders on how NOAA should use our existing legal authorities to conserve and restore America’s ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. NOAA has received written comments, and heard from stakeholders during a series of virtual listening sessions. All input received since the release of the Report will be considered equally with the input we receive through this Federal Register Notice.
Instructions on how to submit a comment, as well as the specific topics on which NOAA is seeking input, are available here. NOAA will also host two public listening sessions:
Public Listening Sessions:
Monday, November 8 | 2:00-4:00 PM ET
Dial in (REQUIRED for audio): 888-324-2609, Passcode: 727-5932
Webinar (optional to view slides): Join Here on the day of the meeting--no advanced registration. (Conference number: PWXW2474478, Audience Passcode: 727-5932)
Tuesday, November 16 | 4:00-6:00 PM ET
Dial in (REQUIRED for audio): 888-324-2609, Passcode: 727-5932
Webinar (optional to view slides): Join Here on the day of the meeting--no advanced registration. (Conference number: PWXW2474479, Audience Passcode: 727-5932)
For additional information, visit https://www.noaa.gov/america-the-beautiful .
October 2021 AADAP Update
Periodically the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP), shares an update describing progress to gain US Food and Drug Administration approval for therapeutic drugs and chemicals or other information that may be of interest to the fish farming community. To follow is the October edition.
INAD Tidbit of the Month:
Did you know that the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) Program is currently working on various aspects of drug approvals for 19 different investigational new animal drugs (INADs), including six medicated feeds, seven injectable drugs, and six immersion drugs? Check out the AADAP Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) webpage for more information about these aquatic drugs that are in the approval pipeline.
Research Program News Byte:
Do fish at your hatchery experience infestations of the parasite Gyrodactylus sp.? If so, AADAP wants to know! Our Research Team has begun to explore the effectiveness of the chlorine-containing compound Chloramine-T (Halamid® Aqua) to control or eliminate various external parasites on freshwater-reared fish species. Some evidence suggests that low concentrations of chlorine may reduce or eliminate Gyrodactylus salaris in salmonid species and possibly other parasite species/fish host associations. We are interested in gathering as much information as possible from fish culturists across the country to guide our future work. If you routinely see Gyrodactylus sp. and would like to share your experience or contribute to our data collection, please reach out to Shane Ramee.
Introducing the new New Animal Drug Approval (NADA) corner for the AADAP Update.
Have you ever tried to handle a 20-pound salmon without sedating it?
Have you ever needed to spawn an endangered fish species that has difficulty spawning in the wild in recent years?
What about trying to keep your fish from catching a bacterial disease whenever a storm comes through and muddies up your receiving waters?
If you have experienced any of these, you know how important it is to the fish and yourself to keep both of you safe when handling a thrashing adult salmon; or the need to help your fish spawn to provide a better chance at survival for an endangered species; or to keep your fish alive when they get sick.
The medication you are able to use to help your fish are all due to the work that drug companies have done to get their product approved. Helping the aquaculture drug companies navigate the drug approval process is another part of what AADAP is about. If you have a potential aquaculture product that may help fish, please reach out to Bonnie Johnson to discuss how we can help you move forward. Or if you happen to use an aquaculture product for your fish, then please thank your local drug company representative.
Get ready for Aquaculture 2022, the Triennial!
Now that Aquaculture America 2021 has passed, we’re already looking forward to next year’s Triennial Aquaculture conference, which will be held from February 28th-March 4th, 2022 in San Diego, California!
Similar to years past, AADAP is planning to co-host a special session with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Drug Approval Working Group, (AFWA-DAWG) at the 2022 Aquaculture Triennial.
In addition to presentations on aquaculture drug approval progress updates and associated research, we’re also welcoming presentations surrounding the topic of drug indexing. As an alternative to the drug approval process for non-food producing minor species and non-food early life stages of food-producing minor species, indexing provides a faster and less expensive process to obtain legal marketing status for eligible products. For more information on drug indexing, please see the FDA’s Drug Indexing webpage and the Summary of Findings of the National Aquaculture Association’s Survey of Broodstock in Aquaculture & Drug Indexing.
SBA Extends Deferment for Disaster Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.
COVID-19 EIDL loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity. Interest continues to accrue during the deferment period and borrowers may make full or partial payments if they choose.
Questions on SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be answered by email at DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339).
AADAP Waives 2021 INAD Fees
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) announced today that for calendar year 2021, they will not be charging Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) enrollment fees for the use of any of the INADs currently available. Please see this letter detailing 2021 INAD Fee Suspension from the USFWS Assistant Director of Fish and Aquatic Conservation, David Hoskins, for further information.
INAD participants will still need to enroll with AADAP, as per usual, for the INAD use to be considered legal, and so AADAP staff can continue to collect the INAD use data.
For questions, please contact Julie C. Schroeter, Fish Biologist, USFWS AADAP, (406) 994-9910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAA Comments on Proposed FDA High-Risk Food Traceability Regulation
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) submitted a comment letter in response to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule requiring farms and processors to: 1) increase the amount of information shared forward concerning high-risk foods to buyers or processors in the food marketing chain and 2) create an electronic records archive to respond in 24-hours to agency inquiry. The agency’s goal is to speed up trace-backs in the event of a food triggered illness.
The agency identified fish, crustaceans and shellfish as high-risk foods. The NAA commented that farmed fish, crustaceans and shellfish are not high-risk foods or, in the case of farmed shellfish, are regulated through the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference, which has been active since 1925, to achieve the goal of rapid traceability. Specifically, the NAA requested:
Farmed live or iced fish and crustaceans be exempted from the proposed rule. These products do not pose high-risk hazards to the consumer because potential food safety hazards are mitigated through seafood hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) regulations imposed by FDA and the states and aquatic animal drug availability and use is highly regulated by FDA and the states.
Farmed shellfish be granted a waiver in deference to the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference so that if changes are needed to the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, the Conference can assess and adopt changes. The NAA noted the proposed rule appears to be duplicative of existing regulations and will create new compliance costs and contradictory regulations that will create confusion in the marketplace
NAA Thanks APHIS Veterinarians
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) extends our thanks and appreciation to the veterinarians of the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), who have been deployed to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
President Biden recently announced his goal of distributing 100 million COVID-19 vaccines to Americans in the first 100 days of his Administration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is leading the vaccination effort, and APHIS has deployed 119 employees to assist in several states. The majority of APHIS’ deployed employees are assigned to Nevada and Oklahoma where they are helping to vaccinate people at a variety of rapid points of distribution including mobile teams and pop-up clinics. Dr. Kathleen Hartman, Lori Gustafson and Chris Ellis, APHIS veterinarians critical to the success of the Aquaculture Program, have been deployed to Las Vegas Nevada.
FMCSA Extends National
Emergency Declaration for
Commercial Vehicle Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has again extended a modified national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service (HOS) regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting vaccines and emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
This notice continues the relief granted in Emergency Declaration 2020-002, as modified on June 15, 2020, August 15, 2020, and December 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021 subject to the restrictions and limitations.
Florida Aquaculture Educators Workshop & System Awards for K-12 Educators
The FDACS Division of Aquaculture, in partnership with the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab (UF TAL) and the FDACS Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness, are excited to announce a new opportunity for Florida K-12 science and agriculture educators.
Funded by a USDA Farm to School grant, FDACS and UF TAL will host a 3-day, hands-on aquaculture education workshop in July 2021 and competitively award up to 20 recirculating aquaculture systems, water testing kits and aquaponics supplies to schools throughout the state.
Register for NAA 2021 Membership Meeting
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) will be holding a virtual annual membership meeting the evening of February 24, 2021 from 5 to 7 pm eastern time.
The membership meeting will consist of:
A summary of advocacy activities during 2020.
Plans for advocacy efforts in 2021.
An announcement by appointed Inspectors of Election of the two candidates elected by the membership to represent the Individual member category to the Board of Directors.
Two simultaneous caucuses by 1) National or Regional Aquaculture Associations and 2) State or Species Aquaculture Associations that are NAA members, respectively, to fill open Board of Director membership positions for three-year terms. The caucuses will occur in breakout rooms during the virtual meeting.
Q4 Pandemic Economic Impact Survey *Closes Jan. 22nd, 2021
Please participate in the Virginia Tech and The Ohio State University organized Quarter 4 (2020) national survey of the effects of the 2020 pandemic on your aquaculture farm or business. Even if you have not been negatively affected, the pandemic economic impacts are needed to effectively report what is happening to US aquaculture.
USDA Hosts Bird Management & Coastal Shellfish Production Webinar
Please join the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program on Wednesday, February 17, at 1:00 p.m. ET for a webinar to talk about bird management and coastal shellfish production. Wildlife Services experts will share a variety of solutions for reducing the presence of birds around coastal farms. Please feel free to share this invitation with any coastal shellfish producers who may be interested in attending.
FWS Finalizes New Special Permit for Cormorant Management in Lower 48 States
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has released a final rule and final environmental impact statement (EIS) to responsibly manage conflicts associated with double-crested cormorants in the United States.
Under the rule, which becomes effective February 12, 2021, a new special permit for interested states and tribes will complement existing measures to address conflicts with cormorants to protect human health and safety, personal property and threatened and endangered species.
USDA Proposing Rule to Regulate Movement of Genetically Engineered Agriculture Animals
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Food Safety Inspection Service are jointly soliciting public comment on establishing regulations for the movement of certain animals modified or developed by genetic engineering.
Under the regulatory framework being contemplated, USDA would promulgate regulations using the authorities granted to the Department through the Animal Health Protection Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Pursuant to these authorities, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would conduct a safety assessment of animals subject to the FMIA or PPIA that have been modified or developed using genetic engineering that may increase the animal’s susceptibility to pests or diseases of livestock, including zoonotic diseases, or ability to transmit the same. The Food Safety and Inspection Service would conduct a pre-slaughter food safety assessment to ensure that the slaughter and processing of certain animals modified or developed using genetic engineering would not result in a product that is adulterated or misbranded.
NOAA Dives into Aquaculture Opportunity Areas
Within the recent Executive Order, Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Section 7, Aquaculture Opportunity Areas, directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to identify areas in federal marine waters appropriate for aquaculture. In a new 3-1/2 minute video, the agency describes their goals, responsibilities, approach, sideboards and invites public engagement. Click here to watch or share.
The AskUSDA Contact Center will serve as the “one front door” for phone, chat, and web inquires, transforming how the public interacts with the Department. AskUSDA also offers over five thousand articles on https://ask.usda.gov, providing a self-service option to address the most common issues and questions.
CFAP 2 Deadline 12/11/20
CFAP 2 will provide up to $14 billion to eligible producers of certain row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, aquaculture and more. All eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of the program (CFAP 1) and interested producers must complete a new application to be eligible for payment for CFAP 2.
U.S. Aquaculture: Economic Recovery
The U.S. Aquaculture Society (USAS) has posted a recording of the recent virtual conference entitled, U.S. Aquaculture: Economic Recovery Through Aquaculture, that occurred on October 1, 2020. Topics included: Status of the National Aquaculture Development Plan, Aquaculture Development Plans from Other Countries, Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on the U.S. Aquaculture Industry, and U.S. Aquaculture: Opportunities and Conditions for Continued Growth,
News on AADAP's INAD Fees
AADAP is pleased to announce that for calendar year 2022, we will not be charging INAD enrollment fees for the use of any of our INADs. INAD participants will still need to enroll with us, as per usual, for the INAD use to be considered legal, and so we can continue to collect the INAD use data. We sincerely thank you for supporting AADAP over the years, as this is what allows us to waive INAD fees for calendar year 2022.
Amending the American Fisheries Society's Blue Book
Over the last three years the NAA has been working to amend the AFS Blue Book. The publication was started by the AFS Fish Health Section in 1975 as a reference for fish pathogen diagnosis when no such reference was available. Over the years the Blue Book has been amended with a critical change occurring in 2003 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s fish health inspection manual was incorporated as Section 2. Currently, 20+ states cite the Blue Book in their fish health regulations.
An unfortunate outcome of this unforeseen regulatory role is the imposition of extensive, expensive and sometimes unjustified testing on commercial farms just because a testing requirement(s) appear in the Blue Book. There is no guidance provided in the Blue Book to states or other users that describes the relative risk, or not, of a pathogen to any particular area of the country, farming operation, market or species.
A Blue Book Steering Committee formed to closely examine the Blue Book with a goal of updating and revising its structure and function is moving towards presenting motions to the Fish Health Section to amend their bylaws to make much needed changes without impacting the value of the Blue Book as a reference for diagnostic methods or QA/QC laboratory practices. There aren’t a lot of fish farmers in the Fish Health Section. It was only through herculean efforts by NAA members to overcome objection by FHS members who noted farmers aren’t members was this effort to make much needed change triggered. This was no small achievement.
I just renewed my AFS membership and will be voting as a FHS member. If you or your members are not a Fish Health Section member, please join and encourage them to join. AFS is on a calendar year and you can join by visiting: Types of Membership | American Fisheries Society.
Questions about CAHPS? Now's Your Chance to Learn More!
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Aquaculture Team, is hosting four Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program Standards webinars during December 2021. Each webinar will contain the same information; however, discussions may differ depending on the audience. You are invited to attend any or all of the events!
The next webinar will be held:
Dec 29 @ 3pm EST
The Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program Standards (CAHPS) establish a nonregulatory framework for the improvement and verification of the health of farmed aquatic animals produced in U.S. commercial aquaculture industry sectors to facilitate trade. Principles outlined in the CAHPS may be used by industry, Federal, State, Tribal, and regulatory and private veterinary authorities to provide for early disease detection, surveillance, reporting and response for the control of aquatic animal pathogens—especially those listed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)—and to prevent pathogen dissemination via movement and trade of aquatic animals.
CAHPS will support various business objectives including efforts to improve health management, protect and expand aquaculture business opportunities, promote and facilitate trade, as well as efforts to improve resource protection and environmental sustainability. The five principles of CAHPS are Aquatic Animal Health Team; Risk Characterization and Management; Surveillance; Investigation and Reporting; and Response.
To reserve a slot and receive webinar sign-in information, please email Dr. Kathleen Hartman, Senior Staff Veterinarian – Aquaculture Health, USDA APHIS, Veterinary Services, at Kathleen.H.Hartman@usda.gov. Include “CAHPS Webinar RSVP” in the subject line.
Sierra Films features Florida Pompano Farm, Aquaco
Sierra Films is producing a film based based on Florida's land-based recirculating Pompano farm, Aquaco Farms and our very own Joe Cardenas. You can see the trailer to this amazing film at https://vimeo.com/640415325
Northeast Aquaculture Science
Collaborations to Follow
Six aquaculture collaborations and partnerships helping to solve tomorrow’s aquaculture challenges like disease, ocean acidification, and climate change.
NOAA aquaculture research in the Northeast focuses on farming finfish, shellfish, and sea vegetables. NOAA scientists at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center work with partners around the globe to provide essential information for the public, industry, and policymakers. Here are six aquaculture collaborations to keep your eye on in 2022.
The Northeast Oyster Breeding Center
The Northeast Oyster Breeding Center is located at the NOAA Milford Laboratory and the University of Rhode Island. It is a new effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA Fisheries. This collaboration includes cutting-edge hatchery technology. It represents an increased commitment by the United States to breed oyster lines that are disease resistant, resilient to climate change, and perform well in different oyster growing regions. The Milford Laboratory is currently assembling a Cawthron Ultra Density Larval System, affectionately called CUDLS. This will allow scientists to produce a large number of shellfish genetic families simultaneously in a smaller footprint, requiring only about one-fifth of the space of a traditional system. The system will be used for family-based breeding of oysters guided by USDA Agricultural Research Service geneticists and the Eastern Oyster Breeding Consortium. The consortium is a group of universities and government agencies. It received a 5-year grant in 2019 to develop tools for selective oyster breeding with strong support from commercial partners.
Conquering Oyster ChallengesThe
OY15 Probiotic Bacteria for Shellfish Hatcheries
The Milford Laboratory is collaborating with public and private industry partners to commercialize a probiotic, or beneficial bacteria, that protects oyster larvae in hatcheries from disease. NOAA scientists discovered and developed a probiotic bacterial strain called OY15, a benign bacterial strain isolated from the digestive glands of oysters. It provides an environmentally friendly way to manage bacterial shellfish pathogens in hatcheries. This naturally occurring bacterium provides disease resistance to Eastern oyster larvae, improving survival by 20 to 35 percent when challenged with a known larval shellfish pathogen. Prospective Research, a private biotech firm in Massachusetts, has partnered with the Milford Lab, manufacturing a freeze-dried powder formulation of OY15. The Milford Lab successfully beta-tested this new formulation of OY15 on Eastern oyster larvae in collaboration with public and private shellfish production hatcheries. They are now conducting trials with several companies growing both Eastern and Pacific oysters, including Hawaiian Shellfish Oyster Hatchery and Cartron Point Oyster Hatchery in Ireland.
An Irish Oyster Farmer and a CEO of an Aquaculture Research Company Discuss the Future of Probiotics
Current Research at the Milford Lab
Ocean Acidification and Aquaculture
Coastal industries including aquaculture feel the impacts of ocean acidification directly. With carbon dioxide emissions on the rise, aquaculture operations need to adapt to changes in ocean chemistry. Focusing on the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia, the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (NECAN), including the James J. Howard and Milford Labs, work with national and international partners to understand how ocean acidification will affect aquaculture. They use their diverse expertise to identify future needs for sustainable aquaculture.
Ocean Acidification Research at the Milford Lab
Northeast Finfish Aquaculture
Manna Fish Farms is building a recirculating aquaculture system hatchery in Southampton, New York, to supply juvenile fish to stock ocean-based net pens. Manna, Stonybrook University, and NOAA science center are collaborating to investigate new techniques for chemical filtration of ammonia using alternative activated media made from dried agricultural wastes. They plan to test the performance of this new filtration method at the center’s James J. Howard Laboratory by running side-by-side with more conventional techniques.
The Future of Seaweed Aquaculture in the United States
Food security, or the accessibility of food, is a growing concern as the population rises. Seaweed aquaculture plays an important part in the health of our ocean as well as our food security. The James J. Howard Laboratory works with experts to review all the benefits of seaweed aquaculture. Each group highlights a different use of seaweed and its value to our planet. Partners include:
Darling Marine Center
University of Connecticut
University of Maine
University of New England
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Fish Metabolism in Response to Climate Change
Partnering with Rutgers University and University of South Florida, the James J. Howard Laboratory studies how climate change affects fish metabolism, or growth. Scientists are using black sea bass and spiny dogfish as model species to look at how changing temperature affects oxygen use. This information helps understand how changing temperatures affect fish growth, and to determine ocean areas that may be suitable for aquaculture operations.
For the complete news release and cool images, click here.
Atlantic Coastal Sustainable
Aquaculture RFP Announced
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission), in partnership with the NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture, is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking marine aquaculture pilot projects focused on sustainable aquatic farming techniques and regional business practices to grow U.S. domestic seafood. The geographic scope of the proposed projects is the U.S. East Coast states from Maine to Florida. The primary location of the proposed projects must be in the marine/estuarine environment. Examples of the types of pilot projects being sought through the RFP follow:
Research and development related to the production and distribution of shellfish seed stock.
Finfish, shellfish (other than oyster*), and seaweed farming systems, especially for those species new to aquaculture in the region or that use novel production systems.
Identification and development of Aquaculture Development Zones with pre-planning and pre-permitting for a range of aquaculture activities.
Resolution of issues (e.g., enforcement, water quality, public trust concerns or impacts) related to open water finfish farming in state waters.
Regional market and economic impact studie
*Note: Proposals for oyster projects were already requested in a separate RFP (2019 Regional Oyster Aquaculture Research Consortia)
NOAA Fisheries, through the Commission, is planning on issuing approximately $600,000 for the funding period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Individual proposals should not exceed $200,000 or be less than $75,000. It is anticipated that approximately 3-5 projects will be funded. Eligible applicants include researchers at U.S. academic institutions, research laboratories, for-profit companies/firms, nonprofits, and state agencies. Proposals from foreign entities are not eligible. Proposals involving multiple investigators are welcome. U.S. federal government agencies, including Regional Fishery Management Councils, are not eligible to receive funding through this solicitation. Federal staff may be collaborators on proposed projects, as long as they are not compensated for their contribution to the project.
Applicants seeking to apply to the RFP must submit, as a single file, an electronic proposal by email no later than midnight on February 1, 2022. Please see the RFP for complete proposal details, qualifying requirements, and submission instructions. The RFP is available at. http://www.asmfc.org/files/RFPs/2022PilotAquacultureRFP_Nov2021.pdf.
For more information, please contact Pat Campfield and Lindsey Aubart at Aquaculture@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.
Action Alert: Import Shipping Water Treatment
to Prevent African Swine Fever
Introduction to the United States
African Swine Fever (ASF) is caused by a highly virulent virus which kills or severely affects domesticated and wild pigs of all breeds and ages. The virus is present in 50 countries (Europe, Asia, and Africa) and was recently discovered in the Dominican Republic. For virus location information please consult the following website that are actively updating ASF information.
United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization: African Swine Fever
Pig Progress: African Swine Fever
The virus is not present in the United States but represents a known and very real threat to US pork production.
As a precaution, the US Department of Agriculture requests that the water and shipping materials included with imported aquatic animals from known ASF positive countries be treated using these guidelines:
Disinfect, prior to disposal, all aquatic animal shipping containers with chlorine @ 20 ppm or Virkon® Aquatic or Virkon® S at 1000 ppm per OIE International Animal Health Code recommended procedures.
Disinfect all transport water @ 30 ppm chlorine. Chlorinated water should be neutralized after 1 hour with sodium thiosulfate OIE International Animal Health Code.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Kathleen H. Hartman, MS, DVM, PhD, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Aquaculture Health, USDA APHIS, Veterinary Services, at her office, 813-671-5230 x119, cell 813-451-8749, or email Kathleen.H.Hartman@usda.gov.
Farmed Seafood in Focus during
the Nonprofit Report
Mark Oppenheim of mOppenheim.org hosts a weekly Nonprofit Report webinar created to showcase the importance of nonprofit organizations, issues and leaders to the United States.
On October 27, 2021, Mr. Oppenheim hosted a 31-minute conversation focused on farmed seafood. His guests were:
Sebastian Belle, Executive Director, Maine Aquaculture Association
George Chamberlain, President, Global Seafood Alliance
Jim Parsons, President, National Aquaculture Association
For an incisive farmed seafood discussion that covered the state of aquaculture in the world; its role as a key global protein; seafood ecolabels; US regulatory framework as a quality and sustainability certifier; seafood literacy in the United States; the seafood buying public’s perception of sustainability, environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, and food safety; and insights as to what we, as individuals, can do to advance aquaculture into a future of radical and necessary change, please click here.
New Paper Refutes Marine Aquaculture
Myths, Unfounded Criticisms
A team of authors with combined marine aquaculture regulatory and/or production experience exceeding 120 years has published in Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture a paper entitled, Refuting Marine Aquaculture Myths, Unfounded Criticisms and Assumptions. The paper is available as open access. To read or download, click here.
The authors discuss sustainable domestic aquaculture development as a critical component to achieving greater U.S. seafood security in the future, yet detrimental allegations have corrupted public support. A variety of longstanding and inaccurate myths and assumptions directed at offshore aquaculture farming and its regulation have been foisted on the public.
This paper refutes the most prevalent critiques by reviewing current policies, regulations, research and industry production practices. These criticisms include: inadequate regulatory oversight; portrayal of farms as being high density factories unconcerned by food waste, untreated discharge, use of antibiotic and antifungal treatments; entanglement of marine mammals; impacts on wild stocks and habitats; use of feed additives to pigment fish flesh; unsustainable use of fish meal in feed formulations; potential market disruption by producing cheap, low quality products; and commercial farms and commercial fishers cannot coexist as for-profit businesses.
Marine aquaculture is not risk-free in terms of potential environmental, economic, social, and cultural impacts and challenges remain to achieve a sustainable industry. These challenges are well known and addressable by the U.S. and global research community.
Current offshore farming realities bode well for the future:
There is a clear global imperative to sustainably produce more seafood to meet growing demand and the U.S. has the marine resources to become a major exporter, if U.S. law can be amended to grant offshore farmers a property right or security of tenure for sites in federal waters;
U.S. ocean farmers work within a very complex and effective legal, regulatory, science-driven environment to anticipate and mitigate potential impacts;
Farm level management decisions and federal and state regulatory frameworks have worked together to bring about environmentally friendly siting, operational, and production outcomes; and,
The farming community and its advocates in government, universities, and industry recognize it is essential to reach out to decision-makers and the interested public, as well as critics, with the latest research and empirical results to present an accurate picture of risks and rewards to development.
The authors thank and recognize with deep appreciation Dr. Sandra Shumway, Department of Marine Science, University of Connecticut, for her vision, drive and unbounded enthusiasm as Editor for Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture. Being an editor is a thankless but invaluable task for which we, as authors, salute Sandy and all the marine aquaculture editors that strive to produce thoughtful, constructive information to move the needle for US aquaculture.
SBA to Host
National Veterans Small Business Week
Events will highlight the Agency’s efforts to support the Nation’s Nearly 1.8 million veteran-owned small businesses through its 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers
The U.S. Small Business Administration will celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of our veteran small business owners during National Veterans Small Business Week, Nov. 1-5, 2021.
Throughout the week, the SBA will focus on highlighting various aspects of the veteran small business ownership journey. Hosted by the Office of Veterans Business Development, the week-long event will cover several topics such as transition assistance, entrepreneurial training, government contracting, disaster assistance, and access to capital resources.
SBA district offices, resource partners, and local organizations across the country will host National Veterans Small Business Week activities in hybrid in-person and virtual formats based on the needs of their community.
For more information about National Veterans Small Business Week and to find events in your area, visit sba.gov/nvsbw. Sign up for an event and join the online conversation using the hashtag #VetBiz.
The Office of Veterans Business Development works through SBA’s extensive resource partner network, which includes Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Women’s Business Centers, and 22 Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) located throughout the nation. VBOCs are also the leading partner in hosting the Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot programs, which offer courses on entrepreneurship on military installations and in local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2013, Boots to Business has trained and graduated more than 143,955 service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses.
For more information on the resources available for veteran entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/veterans.
FWC Seeking Input on Large Mouth Bass Production
Share your input on largemouth bass aquaculture for food
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants your input on largemouth bass aquaculture for food. Recent statutory changes now allow the in-state production and sale of aquaculture Florida largemouth bass as a food fish. The FWC is hosting several public meetings on rule changes to protect the genetic integrity of Florida largemouth bass, (Micropterus salmoides floridanus). Fisheries management staff will draft rule language to:
Allow for production and sale of Florida largemouth bass.
Incorporate genetic authentication standards.
Establish documentation, verification and inspection processes.
Prohibit the importation and transport of live largemouth bass into Florida except for genetically authenticated Florida largemouth bass.
Share your input by attending one of these public meetings. Workshops will begin at 6 p.m. ET unless noted.
October 18: Virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams Join conversation (microsoft.com)
October 19: Virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams Join conversation (microsoft.com)
October 20: Virtual Meeting Via Microsoft Teams Join conversation (microsoft.com)
October 21: Ruskin -- Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, 1408 24th SE, Ruskin, FL 33570
If you can’t attend a workshop and would still like to provide comment, email LargemouthBass@MyFWC.com. For questions related to the workshops, contact Trevor Knight at 352-620-7341 or Trevor.Knight@MyFWC.com.
KSU- Aqua. Publishes Aquaponic Production Manual
The School of Aquaculture and Aquatics Sciences at Kentucky State University is proud to announce the availability of the Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook for Growers.
This 75-page comprehensive manual covers the biological concepts of aquaponics, types of systems, suitable fish and plant species, systems management, water quality, disease of plants and fish, controlled environments (greenhouse and indoors), marketing and economics, as well information on certification and regulations. It is written at a level to be practical resource for practicing (or potential) aquaponic producers.
FDACS Division of Aquaculture Develops Aquaculture Commodity Map
The FDACS Division of Aquaculture recently developed and published a map showcasing the numerous aquaculture commodities by locations within the state. This map is just one-way producers and consumers are able to learn about the great diversity of Florida's aquaculture industry.
EDA Announces Build to Scale Grants Program
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) within the Department of Commerce is accepting applications for the Build to Scale program, a $38 million funding opportunity that fuels tech-based economic development in regional economies.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was published today. Deadline is April 29, 2021.
The FY21 Build to Scale program is comprised of two competitions –– the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The Venture Challenge seeks to support high-growth entrepreneurship, accelerate company growth in the applicant’s region, and scale proven entrepreneurship support models. The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs.
The Venture Challenge grants have two funding levels – up to $750,000 to build programs and up to $1.5 million to scale programs. The Capital Challenge offers grants up to $400,000.
EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship administers the Build to Scale program, which is authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Act.
Introducing the AMAZONAS Jobs Board in Partnership with the FTFFA
Looking to hire an employee for your aquarium-related business or organization? Whether fish farm, hatchery, retail, wholesale, distribution, public aquaria, academia, the AMAZONAS Jobs Board can help you find qualified, passionate candidates who have aquarium-related interests and experience! All types of positions are welcomed from management and accountants to warehouse, animal husbandry, sales, general fish farm staff, researcher…as long as it’s aquarium related! Job postings are free for FTFFA farm members and a nominal charge for others.
BADDL Potentially Expanding to Include Aquaculture
The FDACS Division of Animal Industry, Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (BADDL) currently aids in the research, education, and diagnostic services within veterinary community and veterinarian medicine. The laboratory’s objectives are to provide accurate and prompt diagnostic service to veterinary practitioners, animal producers, state/federal regulatory officials, and the public. BADDL provides a vital role in protecting animal and human health by identifying many animal diseases through rapid and accurate diagnostic testing.
As the aquaculture industry expands in the state of Florida, there is also a growing need for an adequate diagnostic lab for aquaculture producers. FDACS is seeking support for this endeavor.
USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans
Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
This announcement by USDA expands previous actions undertaken by the Department to lessen financial hardship. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers—approximately 10% of all borrowers—are eligible for the relief announced today. Overall, FSA lends to more than 129,000 farmers, ranchers and producers.
The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.
NOAA Posts Marine Aquaculture Facts Sheets
You’re invited to USDA’s forum Building Resilience in Agricultural & Food Systems through Innovative and Strategic Partnerships on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 from 1:00-4:30 pm EST.
Presenters include leaders from USDA, Ag industry and community organizations followed by open Q&A discussion. This forum discussion will highlight how innovative and strategic partnerships between federal, state, local and private partners support the building of resilience in agricultural and food systems, with a focus on food systems and disaster recovery. Held in conjunction with USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum, this Microsoft Teams Live Event is hosted by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) and Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Mission Area.
USDA Announces MOU for Animal Biotechnology Regulation
USDA) announced the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlining responsibilities concerning the regulation of certain animals developed using genetic engineering that are intended for agricultural purposes (such as human food, fiber, and labor). This MOU complements USDA’s issuance of an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the Movement of Animals Modified or Developed by Genetic Engineering on December 28, 2020.
Corps Modifies or Creates Three Marine Aquaculture Nationwide Permits
US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a final rule reissuing and modifying 12 existing NWPs, including NWP 48 Shellfish Mariculture Activities, and issuing four new NWPs, including NWP 55 Seaweed Mariculture Activities and NWP 56 Finfish Mariculture Activities.
USDA Seeks Members for Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture
USDA) is seeking members for a new advisory committee on urban agriculture, part of a broader effort to focus on the needs of urban farmers. The 12-person committee will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices as well as identify any barriers to urban agriculture.
Nominations should include a cover letter, resume and a background form. Nomination packages must be submitted by mail or email by March 5, 2021. They should be addressed to Ronald Harris, Designated Federal Officer, Director of Outreach and Partnerships, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 6006-S, Washington, D.C. 20250, or emailed to Ronald.Harris@usda.gov.
USDA Announces Proposal to Assume Agriculture Animal Biotechnology
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a significant step in modernizing regulations of agricultural animals modified or produced by genetic engineering. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be moving forward with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to solicit public input and feedback on a contemplated regulatory framework that would modernize our system into a scientifically-sound, risk-based, and predictable process that facilitates the development and use of these technologies for U.S. farmers and ranchers under USDA’s authorities. This initiative follows President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on agricultural biotechnology that called upon federal agencies to make regulatory improvements to rectify some of the long-standing barriers to innovation for U.S. agriculture.
USDA’s Role in Supporting Farmers
of Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants
The USDA is hosting a webinar Dec. 11th at 9 AM EST. The webinar will raise the visibility of aquaculture within USDA and provide valuable engagement opportunities for farmers interested in USDA programs.
The webinar will feature presentations from USDA leaders; stakeholders representing seaweeds, shellfish, finfish and other sectors of agriculture; and report outs from each of the six Deep Dive sessions that occurred during November. The webinar will be captured as a publication to inform agency leadership and aquafarming community going forward.
Learn About the USDA Business and Industry
Guaranteed Loan Program
The US Department of Agriculture is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic
Application Deadline: Sept. 15, 2021, or until funds are expended.
Your Voice, Your Future, and
If you produce any aquaculture products and want to make sure that you are counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture, please sign up your operation using this online form:
Aquaculture Buyer Scam Alert
As of November 3, 2020, the FDACS Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement is investigating a buyer scam case and further details are not available. Aquaculture businesses who would like information about filing a complaint against a business or who believe fraud is taking place should contact the Division of Aquaculture directly for assistance at (850) 617-7600 or (850) 352-9832 for Spanish speakers.
Veterinarians Focusing on Aquaculture
to the Benefit of Farms and Agencies
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published an article titled, Leaders of fish medicine associations work to increase recognition from farmers and fellow veterinarians, describing a certification program specific to aquatic animals and a new board specialty in fish medicine.
Participation in the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association's Certified Aquatic Veterinarian Program has grown by an average of 30% annually in the past five years. And the Association adds two to three new student chapters each year.
The certification supports and attracts veterinarians to a growing corps of veterinarians in the United States working on fish farms, in regulatory agencies that oversee aquaculture, and in aquaculture-adjacent fields such as diagnostics and health products. The World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Fish Veterinarians are now working together to create a board specialty in fish medicine, which leaders of each organization say will maintain high standards of care and help show fish farmers the value of hiring veterinarians.
To read the full article, please use this link: avmajournals.avma.org/view/news/259-12/...
During the upcoming Aquaculture 2022, veterinarians have organized three sessions that should not be missed:
Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck: The Value of Comprehensive Veterinary Service
Utilizing Veterinarians to Improve Your Bottom Line
USDA Deep Dive & APHIS Veterinary Services Update
The early bird registration discount to Aquaculture 2022 ends January 21, 2022. Register today by clicking here.
Respond to the National Agricultural Classification Survey!
The final phase of the multi-year National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) is around the corner! The NACS is a nationwide ag census mail list building effort to identify all agricultural operations across the United States and ensure every producer has a voice in the upcoming census.
Survey codes mail out to a million potential producers on Dec. 13. The NACS is required by federal law to be completed by everyone who receives a form, even if not involved in agriculture. NASS will update records accordingly. The deadline for response is Jan. 24, 2022. The online questionnaire is fast and secure. Want to know USDA’s definition of a farm? Check out What is a Farm? - YouTube. Producers who did not receive the 2017 Ag Census are encouraged to sign up to be counted in future censuses and surveys at agcounts.usda.gov/static/get-counted.html.
The farm production information (species, production systems, value and volume, farm acreage and other information) compiled by National Agricultural Statistics Service is critical to informing federal and state legislatures and agencies in their development and continuance of aquaculture programs and policies. All of the farm data provided to the Census of Agriculture and subsequent Census of Aquaculture is held confidential. Sign up today!
Live Sales and Sports Fish
During Aquaculture America 2021 in San Antonio, Dr. Jonathan van Senten, Assistant Professor, at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, organized a session entitled, Farming in the Time of a Pandemic: Impacts, Response, and Planning.
Dr. van Senten anticipated most of the aquaculture community would not be able to attend a conference in the middle of the summer. He arranged for each of the presentations to be recorded for the purpose of triggering aquafarmers to set aside, at your convenience, the time and effort to think about and then make informed decisions to prepare for future market or natural disaster disruptions.
A third recording is available and consists of a 15-minute presentation by Matthew Smith, Aquaculture Program Director, The Ohio State University Extension, entitled, Live Sales and Sports Fish. Mr. Smith discusses the results of the pandemic impact surveys conducted by Virginia Tech and The Ohio State University, how social disruption triggered consumers to go fishing or set up/expand home aquariums, new challenges that emerged concerning production, labor and markets, what to think about going forward, and keys to success for small farms.
Aquaculture 2022 will be held in San Diego, February 28th to March 4th. Over 80 sessions are planned and while attending a national conference may seem like a bit too much, the topics covered, opportunity to ask the speakers questions, or network with your peers are invaluable. Early bird registration ends January 21, 2021. Please plan on attending and take advantage of your NAA membership registration discount!
Catfish Genetic Enhancement:
Marriage of Traditional and
Biotechnological Approaches for
Food Production while
Protecting the Environment
The US Aquaculture Society, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and the National Aquaculture Association are sponsoring a free webinar this coming Friday entitled, Catfish Genetic Enhancement: Marriage of Traditional and Biotechnological Approaches for Food Production while Protecting the Environment, presented by Dr. Rex Dunham.
Catfish and other species can have their production traits greatly improved through traditional genetic approaches. However, greater gain can be made by combining traditional approaches with modern molecular biotechnology. Environmental risk concerns impede the application of modern genetic technology for aquaculture improvement, and there is a perceived conflict between transgenic and gene edited fish with environmental protection. However, the opposite is likely true, and the correct use of these technologies can increase conservation efforts.
Date and Time: November 19, 2020 Time: 1:00 -2:00 Central Time
Registration: Click here.
Speaker: Dr. Rex Dunham
Dr. Dunham has been working in the area of Fish Genetics for 45 years. He conducts research on quantitative genetics, traditional selective breeding, molecular genetics and genomics, hybridization, transgenesis, gene editing, xenogenesis and reproduction primarily with catfish. His research has genetically transformed the catfish industry twice. He has conducted research and collaborated with scientists is several countries throughout the world.
Abstracts Invited for
AQUA 2022 Hatchery Session
A key factor in the advancement of profitable shellfish aquaculture has been the development of hatchery technology. This has led to increased production through a constant flow of juveniles for grow-out. As hatchery technology has developed, it has faced challenges through many different pathways, from working with new species, ambient water quality challenges, climate change and other factors.
Megan Davis, Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch, and Don Webster, University of Maryland Extension, are serving as co-chairs to a Hatchery Session during AQUA 2002. They invite you to submit an abstract.
The session will provide a chance to present information based on research into identifying problems facing hatchery operators and solutions that have been made as well as those that are ongoing. They are looking for presenters researching a variety of issues as well as species.
Please consider this final call for papers and make this the best conference ever, as we get back to meeting each other in-person and presenting the latest information about aquaculture. When submitting an abstract, be sure to specify that it is for the HATCHERY SESSION.
For additional information, contact Dr. Megan Davis at 772-242-2298 office, 772-216-1523 cell or Mdavi105@fau.edu.
Two key issues advocated by a coalition of agricultural organizations, included the National Aquaculture Association, for agricultural livestock haulers were included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) passed by the US House of Representatives last Friday and soon to be signed into law by President Biden.
The “backside 150” expands the current agricultural exemption from Hours of Service (HOS) for livestock haulers and allows them to drive with no HOS restrictions once they are within 150 "air miles"/172 road miles of their destination. This can be combined with the current 150 “air mile” source agricultural exemption. This flexibility will allow agricultural livestock drivers more ability to get live animals where they need to go and unloaded in a safe and welfare-minded manner.
The DRIVE Safe pilot program will enable qualified 18- to 20-year-old CDL holders, with the right safety, training and technology, to drive in interstate commerce and join the trucking workforce. Once the President signs the bill into law, the clock will begin ticking for the US Department of Transportation to stand up the pilot program (within 60 days). As that occurs, advocacy will shift into the regulatory realm, and identifying motor carriers who can participate.
Aquaculture Business Incubator Session
for Aquaculture 2022
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) is organizing a Special Session for Aquaculture 2022, the triennial conference of the AFS Fish Culture Section, National Shellfisheries Association, and National Aquaculture Association, focused on presentations by organizations that will or are hosting startup aquaculture farms.
Regulatory costs (permits, licenses, leases, etc.), specialized infrastructure, water availability or effluent treatment or disposal, can be significant hurdles to starting aquatic animal or plant farms. Farsighted organizations focused on kick-starting the Blue Economy offer turn-key opportunities so that new farmers can focus on getting started. The NAA invites these organizations to present during Aquaculture 2022.
If you would like to present during this session, then please include “Aquaculture Incubator” in the subject line of an email to email@example.com that includes a short description of your opportunity.
2021 Farm Service Agency
County Committee Elections Underway
Ballots to be Mailed to Eligible Voters Beginning This Week
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots this week for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county and urban county committee elections to all eligible agricultural producers and private landowners across the country. Elections are occurring in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these committee members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. To be counted, producers and landowners must return ballots to their local FSA county office or be postmarked by Dec. 6, 2021.
“Now is your opportunity to elect fellow farmers and ranchers in your community to serve on the local county committee,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “These committees are a critical piece to the work we do by providing knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide. Your voice and vote matters.”
Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Also, for County Committee elections, producers who are not of legal voting age, but supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, are eligible to vote.
Producers can find out if their LAA is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local FSA county office. To find your local USDA Service Center, visit farmers.gov/service-locator. Visit fsa.usda.gov/elections for more information.
Each committee has from three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat representing an LAA is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2022.
Urban and Suburban County Committees
Ballots to elect urban committee members were sent beginning Nov. 1, 2021. These elections will serve local urban producers in the same jurisdiction. A fact sheet on the urban county committee election and a list of eligible cities can be found at fsa.usda.gov/elections.
The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to form urban county committees as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture, including the establishment of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Urban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural production practices. Committee members will provide outreach to ensure urban producers understand USDA programs and serve as the voice of other urban producers. Additionally, the new county committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote and encourage community compost and food waste reduction. Learn more at farmers.gov/urban.
Federal Disaster Assistance and Insurance
During Aquaculture America 2021 in San Antonio, Dr. Jonathan van Senten, Assistant Professor at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, organized a session entitled, Farming in the Time of a Pandemic: Impacts, Response, and Planning.
Dr. van Senten anticipated most of the aquaculture community would not be able to attend a conference in the middle of the summer. He arranged for each of the presentations to be recorded for the purpose of triggering aquafarmers to set aside, at your convenience, the time and effort to think about and then make informed decisions to prepare for future market or natural disaster disruptions.
The first recording was posted today and consists of a 15-minute presentation by the National Aquaculture Association entitled Federal Disaster Assistance and Insurance. A brief overview of the federal disaster assistance programs and limited number of aquaculture crop insurance policies available are described and next steps for the farming community suggested.
Aquaculture 2022 will be held in San Diego, February 28th to March 4th. Over 80 sessions are planned and while attending a national conference may seem like a bit too much, the topics covered, opportunity to ask the speakers questions or network with your peers are invaluable. Early bird registration ends January 21, 2021. Please plan on attending!
NIFA Invests $2M into Aquaculture Research
The US Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), recently invested $2 million for seven awards for the Special Research Grants Program for Aquaculture to support the development of new science-based information and technology for environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States.
The Special Research Grants Program for Aquaculture is authorized by the Competitive Special and Facilities Research Grants Act to develop practical solutions that will facilitate growth of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit in seafood products, and enhancing the capacity of the U.S aquaculture industry to contribute to food security and economic growth.
Click on project titles to access a full description:
Technical and Economic Feasibility of Black Soldier Fly Larvae Production under Conventional and Novel Stacked System
University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff
Impact of OSHV-1 Microvariants on Cassostrea virginica Family Lines
University of California – Davis
Aquaculture Operations Management and Control Systems
AI Control Technologies, Inc.
Management of Fish-Borne Trematodes in Pond-Raised Ictalurid Catfish
Mississippi State University
Advance Aquaculture Production through Refining and Transferring Technology of Commercial-Scale Production of Monosex Yellow Perch
Ohio State University – Wooster
Building Foundations for Genetic Improvement of Eastern Oyster in Texas
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi
Development of Nasal and Gut Probiotics to Protect Intensive Catfish Culture Against Edwardsiella ictaluri Infections
Texas State University – San Marcos
American Rescue Plan
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently administering and adds new efforts. Specifically, the new law includes:
$7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services
Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG
$15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.
ARS Announces HeroX Challenge Winners
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and HeroX announced the grand prize winners of a competition that invited the public to submit innovative solutions to preserve the flavor of farmed catfish and prevent the blue-green algae that delays catfish harvesting.
The competition, Preserving the Natural Flavor of Catfish Challenge, launched in August 2020 and called on a global community of solvers to submit a strategy that benefits the nation's catfish farmers and prevents the "earthy" or "muddy" taste in catfish. Judges evaluated submissions for the best overall approach for pre-harvest management practices, pre-harvest treatment technologies, and post-harvest treatment technologies.
SBA Reports COVID-19 Impacts
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, causing illness, death, and widespread economic devastation. Businesses closed and unemployment surged to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
A new issue brief from the Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Advocacy, The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Small Businesses, examines the effects of COVID-19 on small businesses.
While economic damage was widespread, the severity varied substantially across locations, industries, and demographic categories. Locations with larger declines included metropolitan and coastal areas. Industries with larger declines included restaurants and taxi and limousine services. Differences by location and industry contributed to differences across demographic categories, with larger declines for Asian and Black business owners.
AA2021- Presentors Invited for Drug Updates/ Indexing Special Session
The Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) is planning to co-host a special session with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Drug Approval Working Group, (DAWG) at Aquaculture America 2021 to be held in San Antonio, TX from August 11-14, 2021.
In addition to presentations on aquaculture drug approval progress updates and associated research, we invite presentations surrounding the topic of drug indexing. As an alternative to the drug approval process for non-food producing minor species and non-food early life stages of food-producing minor species, indexing provides a faster and less expensive process to obtain legal marketing status for eligible products.
If you’re interested in giving a presentation on aquaculture drug approval progress, updates or indexing, please contact Julie Schroeter for more information by June 23, 2021.
Support HR 628!
The Shellfish Aquaculture Improvement Act
The Shellfish Aquaculture Improvement Act will exempt aquaculture workers from unintended consequences of the Merchant Marine Act that inflate insurance costs and expose our employers to unlimited liability.
The shellfish farming community is seeking for the same exclusion from the Merchant Marine Act so that aquaculture farmers can cover employees under state workers’ compensation insurance instead. Why is this change needed?
Aquaculture employees are not “seamen” in the traditional sense of the term. Seamen working on the high seas cannot be covered under state workers compensation insurance, so it makes sense that they need special insurance. Aquaculture workers on near-shore farms in state waters should be insured by state workers’ compensation insurance.
Shellfish aquaculture is a near-shore, water-dependent farming operation, normally conducted solely within state waters. These activities have no relevance to the Merchant Marine Act's original national security and coastal commerce intent.
In many states Merchant Marine Act insurance costs much more than state workers compensation insurance, (often several times more) so aquaculture farms could save thousands on their insurance bills annually if this measure passes.
Aquaculture firms in many states are forced to purchase both a Jones Act insurance endorsement and pay into state workers compensation programs, paying twice to cover each employee.
Under the Merchant Marine Act employees who suffer serious injury can sue their employer for maintenance and cure, and those lawsuits can quickly exceed the Jones Act insurance cap, crippling or bankrupting the farm.
VT/OSU Releases 4th Quarter Pandemic Economic Impact Survey Results
The results from the Q4 survey close out an eventful and complicated year for the U.S. aquaculture and aquaponics sectors and their allied businesses. Q4 findings clearly demonstrate that the industry was still experiencing negative impacts from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the end of 2020.
Many of these effects and impacts were similar to the trends captured in previous quarterly surveys. The Q4 responses also indicate that there are longer-term effects and secondary impacts materializing for the industry as the pandemic continues. While many Q4 respondents were successful in obtaining assistance and relief, it is unclear whether these measures will be sufficient to address the continuing impacts and resulting consequences for producers during 2021.
NOAA Sea Grant Awards $4.7 Million to Strengthen Economics of U.S. Aquaculture
Today, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant Program, announced $4.7 million in federal funding to support 12 research projects to advance the understanding of the economics of aquaculture businesses and provide the industry with important market information to aid sustainable growth in the United States.
The new projects:
Support broad, non-proprietary research to address critical gaps with respect to aquaculture economics and market needs;
Make that information available to U.S. aquaculture businesses and management agencies; and
Build the capacity of Sea Grant and its partners, including Sea Grant aquaculture extension personnel and industry stakeholders.
NOAA Posts Marine Aquaculture Facts Sheets
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has posted one or two-page fact sheets explaining the science, production practices, regulations, policies or programs behind significant marine aquaculture topics.
Antibiotic Use in Finfish
Aquaculture and Environmental Interactions
Aquaculture Provides Beneficial Ecosystems Services
Climate Resilience and Aquaculture
Disaster Assistance for Fisheries
Marine Aquaculture in the U.S.
Potential Risks for Aquaculture Escapes
Regulation of Marine Aquaculture
Sustainable Aquaculture Feeds & Nutrition
National Law Review Article Examines New marine Aquaculture NWP's
A January 15th article in The National Law Review entitled, U.S. Army Corps Issues Final Nationwide Permits for Aquaculture, describes the recent final rule by the US Army Corps of Engineers for a revised shellfish farming nationwide permit (NWP 48) and the two new nationwide permits for seaweed and marine finfish culture, NWPs 55 and 56. The authors also delve a bit deeper and present how the transition to a new Administration or Congress could impact the rule.
SBA & Treasury Announce PPP Re-Opening; Issue New Guidance
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility was released on January 6 in accordance with the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.
NAA Comments on the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) provided comments to the House Committee on Natural Resources regarding HR 8632, Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020.
We respectfully recommended the legislation be amended to examine the regulatory (i.e., increased costs) on domestic seafood production, both wild caught and farmed. If the United States imposes carbon-based restrictions domestically, then those provisions should equitably be required of nations exporting to the United States. An example to emulate for the Blue Carbon Program occurs in Section 101 in the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This section authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards (16 U.S.C. 1371 Sec. 101(c)).
2021 USDA NASS Jan. Catfish Survey Begins Soon
This annual survey collects information on water acreage, inventory, and sales. The information helps evaluate conditions from year-to-year, and promote programs designed to ensure the viability of catfish producers.
Producers will be contacted in the coming weeks, and response to the survey is important to ensure quality statistics about the catfish industry. If you have not responded in the past and would like to contribute to the survey or have questions about the survey, contact Tony Dorn, USDA NASS, at 202-690-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FDACS Division of Aqua. Newsletter Issue 107
The FDACS Division of Aquaculture published a monthly newsletter to keep all who subscribe up-to-date in local, state, and national news that is important to aquaculture producers, suppliers, and supporters throughout the state.
NAA Offers Recommendations to
the Biden-Harris Transition Team
The National Aquaculture Association wrote the Biden-Harris Transition team members responsible for the Department of Commerce and US Department of Agriculture on behalf of 3,000 farms located throughout the United States producing aquatic animals and plants for seafood, recreational, ornamental or biological control markets. We offered the following recommendations to produce high-quality, nutritious seafood, rebalance trade, and increase employment, support rural inland and coastal communities. And we offered the Biden-Harris Transition our services to provide additional information or arrange farm tours to see US aquaculture in-action.
FDA Extends GFI#61
This morning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended the comment period for draft Guidance for Industry #61, entitled “Special Considerations, Incentives, and Programs to Support the Approval of New Animal Drugs for Minor Uses and for Minor Species,” by 60 days. The comment period will now close January 11, 2021.
FDACS- Division of Aqua. 2020 Aquaculture Plan
The Aquaculture Review Council (ARC) and the Division of Aquaculture develops this plan annually for the purposes of creating new technologies, improved farm productivity, increased farm income and employment and other economic and environmental benefits to the state of Florida.