Thursday, July 23, 2009

Georgia Aquaculture Farmers May Apply for Disaster Relief Funds to Recoup ‘08 Feed Cost

Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin alerts Georgia aquaculture farmers that they may be eligible to receive disaster relief funds to partially off-set escalating feed costs associated with the 2008 calendar year.

The state has received $205,200 in assistance funds to help aquafarmers. The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Commodity Credit Corporation.

“This is a small grant but we are happy to receive it,” says Irvin. “Anytime we are able to help Georgia farmers we are going to do it. This money is good news that will help to off-set the higher-than-expected feed costs associated with doing business in 2008.”

Aquaculture, the farming of freshwater and saltwater organisms, such as fish and shrimp, is a growing industry in Georgia with nearly 300 small, family-owned fish farms. Trout, carp and catfish are the most popular species of fish grown in the state.

To be eligible to submit an application for feed cost reimbursement, aquaculture farmers must have: raised an aquaculture species in a
controlled environment that is still in operation today; experienced a financial risk; not have an adjusted income in excess of $2.5 million and had feed cost that was at least 25 percent of the producer’s total input cost.

The application, which can be found on-line at www.agr.georgia.gov, is due Friday, August 14, 2009. Hour-long telephone conference calls -- to answer specific questions of aquaculture farmers -- are scheduled for July 31 and August 7. Details relating to the conference calls and the program can be found at www.agr.georgia.gov.

For additional information contact Ms. Moreblessing Dzivakwe, Georgia Department of Agriculture 2008 Aquaculture Grant Program at (404) 463-8875 or e-mail her at mdzivak@agr.state.ga.us
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