One of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes in recent history, Hurricane Irma proved to be a fierce storm that left behind a path of destruction through Florida, from the Keys to Jacksonville and many areas in between. Many of Florida’s shellfish producing counties have been affected by the storm and assessment of losses is ongoing. Below is a summary of resource information being released through our state and federal agriculture agencies. More information will be posted as it is forthcoming.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Response
According to a USDA News Release dated September 13, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced special procedures to assist producers who lost crops or had other damage to their farms as a result of the recent hurricanes. Also, because of the severe and widespread damage caused by the hurricanes, USDA will provide additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is authorizing emergency procedures on a case-by-case basis to assist impacted borrowers, livestock owners, contract growers, and other producers. The measures announced apply only to counties impacted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-determined tropical storm, typhoon, or hurricane, including Harvey and Irma that have received a primary Presidential Disaster Declaration and those counties contiguous to such designated counties.
The Big Bend Shellfish Trail and Map was produced with a grant award of $20,000 received by the Levy County Board of County Commission. One of five collaborative grants awarded across the Big Bend counties—Dixie, Jefferson, Levy, and Taylor—the funding encouraged partnerships to strengthen the region’s economic vitality while simultaneously ensuring the ongoing health of its natural resources. “A number of partners participated in the creation of Florida’s first Shellfish Trail and the largest trail of its kind in the United States. This project showcases our working waterfront communities and encourages economic growth in Levy County and in the Big Bend Region,” said Levy County Commissioner John Meeks.
Florida Sea Grant and the Gulf Shellfish Institute are hosting an upcoming workshop for the southwest Florida shellfish industry. This workshop aims to bring together industry, scientists and regulators to discuss shellfish industry challenges as related to harmful algal blooms.
The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Registration and coffee open at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided on site. An evening reception will follow the workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, also at the South Florida Museum.
For more information and to RSVP, please contact Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant Extension, email@example.com
The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in crop losses. NAP provides catastrophic level (CAT) coverage based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop. Beginning in 2015, additional coverage may be elected by growers by the application closing date; growers who buy-up coverage must pay a premium for that level of coverage in addition to the service fee. The NAP Fact Sheet can be viewed here.
To be covered for the 2018 crop year, the deadline for clam growers to sign-up and pay the applicable service fee, and premium if elected, is September 1 at your local FSA office. Oyster culture is now also covered by NAP in select counties.
The University of Florida/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program will be hosting a workshop entitled Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines on Thursday, August 23rd from 4-6 pm (EST) at the Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab in Cedar Key, FL. The workshop presenter will be Dr. John Supan, director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, a state-of-the art facility which opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster bars. Dr. Supan has over 25 years of shellfish hatchery experience.
To accommodate interest in this workshop, there are several ways you can attend remotely with internet connection. The workshop will be broadcasted live via the Zoom app. Click here to download Zoom and access the workshop on August 23rd (4-6 pm). You can also download the Zoom mobile app to participate using an iPhone or Android. Click here for some basic instructions on using Zoom. Zoom participants will have the ability to submit questions that may be relayed to Dr. Supan following his talk. A recording of the workshop will be made available for those unable to attend.
If you have any questions, contact Carter Cyr, at 207-228-5622 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A series of workshops is being conducted to address industry issues in the production of shellfish seed. Hatchery operators and personnel are invited to attend. The topic of this workshop is: Advances in Shellfish Hatchery Technology and Review of Operational & Maintenance Guidelines. Topics to be presented include: advances in shellfish hatchery system design, filtration equipment, and algal production systems; how to set up and operate a semi-closed or closed (recirculating) hatchery system; how to adjust water supply source with buffering system if pH and alkalinity are not optimal and values to maintain; and outline of shellfish hatchery operation and maintenance guidelines and troubleshooting tips. The workshop presenter is Dr. John Supan, who is the director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Oyster Hatchery, Grand Isle, LA, a state-of-the art facility opened in 2015 to produce a billion oyster larvae for supplementing natural production of public oyster reefs.
The hatchery workshop will be held on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 from 4 to 5:30 pm at the FWC Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, Classroom located at 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL.
Individual hatchery visits in Cedar Key with Dr. Supan can be scheduled from 2-4 pm on August 23 & from 8-10 am on August 24. Contact Leslie to schedule. Please confirm your attendance in advance to ensure adequate handout materials by contacting Leslie Sturmer, UF/IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program, Phone: (352) 543-5057, Email: LNST@ufl.edu, or Rose Cantwell, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, Phone: (352) 215-6341, Email: email@example.com.
A copy of the workshop flyer (pdf file) can be accessed here.
Fish, shellfish, plant, reptile, crustacean and other farmers that grow aquatic animals will soon have the opportunity to represent aquaculture in their communities, state and nationally by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. As examples of the importance of Census of Agriculture data, this information drives decision making by state and federal governments, manufacturers of aquaculture production gear, drugs and chemicals, and state and federal funding for research and development. All farm data is held confidential by NASS. Continue reading
All Aquaculture Certificates of Registration (“AQ cards”) will expire on June 30th. Renewal information will be mailed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Division of Aquaculture, this includes a preprinted application and notice of $100 fee. Any applicant working with shellfish must complete the Harvester Education Training and submit a copy of their certificate of training along with the application. Applications and fees must be returned by June 30th to avoid a lapse in certification. They may be submitted via mail: FDACS, P.O. Box 6710, Tallahassee, FL 32314-6710, with a check or money order made payable to FDACS. Renewing applicants may submit their application, training certificate, and payment online here. Online renewals must include a signed application and harvester education training certificate. Continue reading
Florida Sea Grant developed a new 4-year strategic plan this spring. One of the areas covered in the FSG strategic plan is aquaculture. Not only is shellfish aquaculture an important business sector in Florida, it is unique in that there is a history of dedicated federal funding for research and extension. The aim of this workshop is to help Florida institutions acquire a substantial amount of these funds to use in solving the highest priority issues affecting the shellfish aquaculture industry. Industry members, researchers, and agency representatives can help FSG identify and prioritize these issues in greater detail than what has been done in the strategic plan. The outcome will be a solution-oriented plan that will help to guide research and information needs of the industry.
The workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 1 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Osceola County Extension Office, located in the Osceola Heritage Park, 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane, Kissimmee, Florida. Lunch will be provided by Florida Sea Grant.