Videos and Presentations from Understanding USDA Farm Service Agency Programs Workshop

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is responsible for the delivery of federal farm programs to help producers manage risks and recover from disasters. The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect them against natural disasters that result in crop losses. A workshop was held on August 24, 2018 to learn about coverage levels for the 2019 crop year, application deadlines, and which counties cover clam, oyster, and sunray venus crops. Note that the deadline to sign out for NAP coverage for the 2019 crop year is September 4, 2018.

A one-time program, the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, or WHIP, provides disaster relief to agricultural and aquacultural producers. This funding helps replace losses occurred during the 2017 hurricane season. Eligibility and other requirements were introduced at the workshop. Heather Boyd, Continue reading

Travel Funds for Oyster Growers

Peer-To-Pier Fellowship Program

The purpose of the Peer-To-Pier Fellowship Program, supported by an award from the National Sea Grant College Program and contributions from Oyster South, is to support peer-to-peer learning opportunities for oyster farmers in the southern US to attend industry conferences and shows, as well as visiting peers in other parts of the country to pursue learning opportunities. Funds may not be used to purchase seed or gear. Under this program, at least 8 awards of up to $1,000 each will be provided. Continue reading

Understanding the USDA Farm Service Agency Programs for Shellfish Growers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is responsible for the delivery of federal farm programs to help producers manage risks and recover from disasters. The Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, provides financial assistance to growers of non-insurable crops to protect them against natural disasters that result in crop losses. Learn about coverage levels for the 2019 crop year, application deadlines, and which counties cover oyster crops. The 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program, or WHIP, provides disaster relief to agricultural and aquacultural producers. This funding helps replace losses occurred during the 2017 hurricane season. Learn about eligibility and other requirements. Heather Boyd, Agricultural Program Specialist at the state FSA office, and Brandy VanAernam, Director of the Gilchrist County FSA office, will be available to explain both programs and answer your questions.

When: Friday, August 24, 2018, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Where: FWC Senator Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL Continue reading

Industry Inputs on Aquaculture Priorities Requested by USDA

To address the current needs and challenges facing the aquaculture industry, stakeholders and industry members have been invited to voice their opinions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Aquaculture National Program, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) use this information to prioritize and establish frameworks for aquaculture research and extension programs over the next five years. In 2013, shellfish priorities included domestication of oysters, reproduction, health tools, and production technology. A full list of the 2013 sessions can be found here. To continue the discussion, you are invited to participate in the 2018 online Molluscan Shellfish session, which will take place on August 15, 2018, from 1 pm – 4 pm (EDT). Other sessions include: Continue reading

GoM Shellfish Initiative: Stakeholder Feedback

To advance the nation’s first regional shellfish initiative, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission provided funding to the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. The Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative (GoMexSI) team engaged a broad range of stakeholders including shellfish farmers, shellfish harvesters, environmental organizations, state and local management agencies, foundations, and others to identify strategies to be implemented in the future to ensure sustainable shellfish populations for current and future generations.

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Presentations and Video of Triploid Oyster Culture Workshop Available

Natural triploids of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica have only been available for commercial use for the past 15-17 years elsewhere in the U.S., and not until 2014 in Florida. Despite the proof of concept in other coastal states, there is a need to understand whether the application of triploidy in the development of the emergent industry in Florida will result in increased production and economic gains. Florida represents the southernmost limit of natural distribution for the eastern oyster in the United States. In contrast to other states, Florida’s subtropical water temperatures result in a prolonged spawning season for oysters. The effects of triploidy, which results in reproductive sterility, on the performance of cultured oysters produced by tetraploid technology under these conditions have not yet been documented. Continue reading

USDA Implements Hurricane Recovery Funding

2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP) to Aid Recovery in Rural Communities

 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion, as provided by Congress, to help America’s farmers and ranchers recover from hurricanes and wildfires. The funds are available as part of the new 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). Authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, sign-up for the new program will begin no later than July 16.

 USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will make these disaster payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and devastating wildfires. The 2017 calendar year was a historic year for natural disasters, and this investment package is part of a broader suite of programs that USDA is delivering to rural America to aid recovery. In total, the Act provided more than $3 billion in disaster relief by creating new programs and expediting or enhancing payments for producers. Continue reading

Workshops: Application of Triploidy to Oyster Culture

To address increased interest in oyster aquaculture on Florida’s west coast, an applied research and demonstration project was conducted during 2016-17 to evaluate an oyster breeding process to local conditions. Diploid and triploid oysters were cultured at commercial farms in four counties and at the UF experimental site in Cedar Key, where replicated field trials allowed for documenting effects of several management practices on production.

Workshops will be held on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, 3618 Coastal Hwy 98, St. Teresa, FL; and Friday, May 4, 2018 at the FWC Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab, 11350 SW 153rd Court, Cedar Key, FL.

Both workshops are from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

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Webinar: The Cooperative Advantage of Marketing Local Farm-Raised Seafood

Peggy Fogarty from Keystone Development Center (KDC) will present a free webinar and case study on aquaculture cooperatives during March 29th at 12:00 pm eastern during the next edition of the Aquaculture Webinar Series co-produced and funded by the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, the United States Aquaculture Society, and the National Aquaculture Association.

Webinar Topic: New Jersey Shellfish growers were seeking ways for cooperatively expanding their markets. The farmers recognize that to increase their on-farm income, they need to increase the volume of what they produce, eliminate losses due to the perishable nature of food, minimize transportation and packaging expenses, and receive the highest price for what they sell. To do all this is nearly impossible for a single farm operation, but by collectively pooling their resources and efforts through the cooperative, they potentially can accomplish their goals. Continue reading

Energy Cost Share Program for Aquaculture

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) developed the ERICA program to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy usage, and lower operating costs at commercial aquaculture facilities in Florida.

This grant program is designed to provide grant reimbursement for technologies that significantly increase energy efficiency and renewable energy for eligible commercial aquaculture facilities and farms located in Florida.

Eligibility

Qualified applicants are those applicants who are certified under Section 597.004, Florida Statutes, and have a physical presence in the state of Florida. The applicant must maintain certification throughout the project implementation and the one-year energy data collection period.

Application Process

An application packet consists of the following documents.

FDACS will begin accepting applications on February 19, 2018. The application period will remain open until all funds are expended. Each applicant may submit only ONE application in response to this NOFA.

Please see the NOFA and its attachments for full details regarding program requirements, eligibility and application submittal.

Applications must be submitted in hard copy to:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Office of Energy
ATTN: Florida Energy Technology Cost Share Program – Efficiency and Renewable Improvements in Commercial Aquaculture
600 South Calhoun Street, Room B04
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Direct programmatic questions to Mrs. Gail Stafford at Energy@FreshFromFlorida.com. Answers to questions received by 5 p.m. EST each Thursday will be posted by 12 p.m. EST on the following Monday.

Funding Availability

Minimum award: $5,000

Maximum award: $30,000

Total funding available: $1,002,103.33

Cost Share

The grantee cost share amount is 25 percent of grant funds requested.

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