News

Update on USDA FSA NAP Program

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides financial assistance to growers of noninsurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or 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.

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Project VENUS Update

During the first year of Project VENUS (Vocational Education Network Using Sunrays), over 65% of the hatcheries in the state received broodstock and a small stipend to assist them in producing sunray venus clam seed. Excessive rainfall over the past winter and spring resulted in lower salinities and may have affected seed production.

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This Year’s Sebastian Clambake a Success

The Sebastian Clambake, billed as a “Lagoon Festival,” celebrated on November 7-9 the area’s special way of life along the Indian River, which has been the life-blood of the community from the beginning. The lagoon has provided its citizens and visitors with recreation, tranquil beauty, and food for generations.

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The Way We Worked Exhibit

Over a six-week period this fall, Cedar Key was home to a traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit, The Way We Worked, which explores how work became a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and environments over the past 150 years.

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Pilot Clam Crop Insurance Program Dropped in Florida

Since 2000, the Cultivated Clam Crop Insurance Program has been available for aquaculturists in selected counties in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts. During this time, the pilot program has undergone several comprehensive reviews. Based on results of the most recent evaluation, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation terminated the program for the 2015 and subsequent crop years in Florida.

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Study on Effects of Mechanical Harvesting Completed

The final report of an Aquaculture Review Council-supported project evaluating alternative farming technology for the sunray venus clam was submitted to the DACS Division of Aquaculture. An 80% increase in sunray venus production was obtained using bottom plants versus bottom bags. Further, the culture period to reach a potential market size of ~2” shell length can be reduced by 15-25% using the bottom plant method.

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Dialogue with Shellfish Culture Industry

During August through October, workshops were held with shellfish growers around the state to provide information on recent and ongoing applied projects being conducted by the UF IFAS Shellfish Aquaculture Research and Extension Program.

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2013 Census of Aquaculture Released by USDA

The 2013 Census of Aquaculture was recently released by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report provides value of sales for a variety of aquaculture products by type (e.g., mollusks) and species. Due to recent advances in the industry, Florida ranked fourth in the nation in sales value of molluscan shellfish products ($19.6 million), falling behind Washington ($149.3 million), Virginia ($41.5 million), and Connecticut ($28.3 million).

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Sunray Venus Clams on the JSR Cover

Over the past seven years, the culture and market potential of the sunray venus clam has been examined. The existence of a latent market and potential growth rate of this native bivalve made it a logical choice to diversify the Florida hard clam industry. To increase awareness of this new culture species, sunray venus clams have been featured at culinary demonstrations, consumer acceptance trials, and seafood shows.

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