USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Farmers and Livestock Producers in California Impacted by Floods

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Flooded Strawberry field

From the USDA

California agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the recent floods throughout the state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. Impacted producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

“Production agriculture is vital to the California economy, and USDA stands ready to assist in the recovery from these catastrophic flood events,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), who met with disaster-impacted producers last week in Fresno, Yuba, Salinas Valley and other areas.  “I assure you that USDA employees are working diligently to deliver our extensive portfolio of disaster assistance programs and services to all impacted agricultural producers. We’re also proud of recent updates FSA made to disaster assistance programs that allow us to improve our response to California producers.”

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SBA Positioned to Assist California Businesses and Residents Affected by the Statewide Winter Storm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to California businesses and residents as a result of President Biden’s major disaster declaration, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced.

The declaration covers Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties as a result of severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that began Dec. 27, 2022.

“With President Biden’s declaration, SBA is working closely with FEMA and our state and local officials on the ground to deliver expedient disaster recovery loans and support that will aid Californians impacted by these severe and devastating winter storms, flooding and mudslides,” said Administrator Guzman. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and I urge affected residents to stay safe and heed the guidance of local emergency officials. As the state faces continued rainfall and heightened risks of flooding and mudslides, the SBA is committed to providing the full breadth of our resources to help small businesses and communities recover and rebuild stronger than before.”

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.375 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 2.313 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.disasterassistance.gov. As soon as Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected area, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants. Additional information and details on the location of disaster recovery centers is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955.

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Winter Storm Reminders, Resources, and Reporting

Reporting Storm Related Damage Growers that have sustained damages due to these recent storms, need to report damages to the Sacramento County Agriculture Commissioner’s office with the Report of Loss Form.

Form can be found online at https://agcomm.saccounty.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Completed Report of Loss Forms may be hand delivered or mailed to either office below, or emailed to agcomm@saccounty.gov
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APHIS Hosting OSHV-1 Webinar

APHIS Hosting OSHV-1 Webinar   At the request of U.S. aquaculture, the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), is pleased to offer an informational webinar on ostreid herpesvirus-1 (causative agent of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome [POMS]). This TEAMS webinar offering is open to everyone with an interest in shellfish health.  
 
Date/Time: Monday, December 12, 2022 at 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. MT/12:00 p.m. CT/11 a.m. PT. 
 
Presenter: Dr. Collen Burge, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
 
To Join at the day and time of the webinar:
By computer, mobile app or room device:
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 258 740 504 30
Passcode: 5rTxiy
Download Teams | Join on the web
 
Or call in (audio only)
 
+1 202-650-0123,,589769757#   United States, Washington DC
Phone Conference ID: 589 769 757#
Find a local number | Reset PIN
 
Learn More | Meeting options
 
For more information on OSHV-1, APHIS offers these resources:

Frequently Asked Questions: Infection by ostreid herpesvirus-1 (OsHV-1) microvariants, sometimes referred to as Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

Ostreid Herpesvirus-1 Information Sheet

Potential Introduction Pathways of Ostreid Herpesvirus-1 (OsHV-1) in the United States 

Optimizing surveillance for early disease detection: Expert guidance for Ostreid herpesvirus surveillance design and system sensitivity calculation, Gustafson et al. 2021

If you have questions, please contact Kathleen H. Hartman, Senior Staff Veterinarian – Aquaculture Health, USDA APHIS, Veterinary Services, Kathleen.H.Hartman@usda.gov.

USDA Provides Payments of nearly $800 Million in Assistance to Help Keep Farmers Farming

Courtesy of NAA:

Immediate Help for Over 13,000 Distressed USDA Farm Loan Borrowers; Begins process to provide up to $500 million more for up to 23,000 additional borrowers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that distressed borrowers with qualifying USDA farm loans have already received nearly $800 million in assistance, as part of the $3.1 billion in assistance for distressed farm loan borrowers provided through Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA directed USDA to expedite assistance to distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) whose operations face financial risk.

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National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – Small Business Programs

USDA NIFA has now released the FY23 SBIR/STTR Phase 1 RFA.

The SBIR program supports US-based small businesses solving issues (with commercial potential) related to food and agriculture. This program has and continues to support an Aquaculture priority area (SBIR 8.7).

Here are the links to information and to the application package on grants.gov:

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Phase I | National Institute of Food and Agriculture (usda.gov)

View Opportunity | GRANTS.GOV

Please share the RFA links with any interested parties and let any and all know that if they are interested in applying they can email me at timothy.sullivan@usda.gov and I will provide them with all requisite information.

Thanks in advance for your help in growing the USDA NIFA SBIR 8.7 program area priority!

Tim

Tim Sullivan, National Program Leader, Animal Health and Aquaculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Invitation to Webinar Regarding New Aquaculture Lease Applications: Criteria for Public Interest Determination, on July 12, 2022

Dear Members of the California Ocean Community, 

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) and California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) staff invite interested stakeholders participate in a public workshop series related to developing potential criteria for Commission use when determining if individual proposed new state water bottom leases for aquaculture are in the public interest.

An introductory webinar will be held via Zoom, July 12, 2022 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. At the introductory webinar, the Department will present an overview of initial draft criteria and answer questions; the public will have the opportunity to provide input on the initial draft criteria during the Commission’s Marine Resources Committee meeting later that week and at subsequent workshop(s) (see below). 

This effort to define criteria by which the Commission will make its determination of whether each new aquaculture lease application should be further considered is being facilitated by the Marine Resources Committee, where full public discussion and written comment is encouraged. The Marine Resources Committee will next meet on July 14, 2022 in Santa Rosa and via webinar/teleconference.

Additional information and background context on this effort, as well as meeting and support materials, are available at the Department’s Aquaculture webpage, including background materials and the initial draft criteria.

Materials and information on how to join the July 12 webinar will be posted to the Commission’s meetings page early next week, at https://fgc.ca.gov/Meetings/2022.  Webinar Registration please select: Registration.

The next installment of the workshop series is expected to occur later this summer or early fall, for stakeholder input on revised draft criteria once it is prepared. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at: AquacultureCoord@wildlife.ca.gov or FGC@fgc.ca.gov.

We look forward to your participation.

Thank you,

Randy Lovell
State Aquaculture Coordinator
CA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Melissa Miller-Henson
Executive Director
CA Fish and Game Commission

Provide Your Feedback on NOAA’s Draft Aquaculture Strategic Plan

Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Mandy Lindeberg
NOAA is seeking public comment on its draft aquaculture strategic plan. Join us for a one-hour session to help shape this important document. Click on a date and time below to register:

Session 1: Wednesday, June 22, 1:00 p.m. ET
Session 2: Wednesday, June 22, 6:30 p.m. ET
Session 3: Friday, June 24, 2:00 p.m. ET

These sessions are hosted by NOAA and will consist of a brief presentation, followed by public comments (three-minute time allotment per comment) for the remainder of the hour. Please register in advance.

During each meeting, NOAA staff will provide an overview of the contents of the draft aquaculture strategic plan, discuss next steps, and receive related feedback from the public. Each session will be recorded.

Public meetings ensure an inclusive and transparent process as NOAA works to expand sustainable aquaculture in the United States. Your comments are valued as we continue to refine our aquaculture mission and vision.

To view the draft strategic plan, visit this page. If you have any questions, please contact nmfs.aquaculture.info@noaa.gov.

2022 Census of Agriculture

The 2022 Census of Agriculture is right around the corner and USDA NASS is making every effort to count all aquaculture producers in the United States.  

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:  2023 Census of Aquaculture.

Once you have signed up, you might receive a short survey in the next two years to further categorize your operation. But most likely, you will not receive a survey until the 2022 Census of Agriculture in January or February, 2023.

When signing up, please keep these items in mind to better understand how USDA NASS counts aquaculture production:

  • To be counted as an aquaculture farm, some form of intervention in the rearing process, such as seeding, stocking, feeding, or protection from predators, must be done by the producer. 
  • Aquaculture is defined as the farming of aquatic organisms, including baitfish, crustaceans, food fish, mollusks, ornamental fish, sport or game fish, algae and sea vegetables, and other aquaculture products. 
  • Fish, shellfish, and other aquatic products which are caught or harvested by the public from non-controlled waters or beds without any intervention, or input costs, are considered wild caught and are NOT included in the USDA NASS count of aquaculture farms.

Remember, participating in the 2022 Census of Agriculture and the 2023 Census of Aquaculture is Your Voice, Your Future, and Your Opportunity. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture and Aquaculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

All information you provide will be held confidential under penalty of federal law.  There is NO sharing of individual farm financial data with other federal agencies other than the final compiled reports that are publicly available.  Since NASS surveys are conducted for statistical purposes only, individual reports are protected by law, even from other governmental agencies. Please read and share the NASS Confidentiality Pledge.

If you have any questions, contact Tony Dorn at tony.dorn@usda.gov or (202) 690-3223.

United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership

The AADAP program, which is a part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program (USFWS-FAC), is the only program in the U.S. singularly dedicated to obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of new drugs needed for use in fish culture and fisheries management. AADAP is comprised of four sub-programs: the National Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD), Research, New Animal Drug Approval (NADA), and Outreach programs. Together these programs provide fish culturists and fish health professionals with legal access to a variety of aquaculture drugs currently in the drug approval process, evaluate the safety and efficacy of aquaculture drugs, assist drug sponsors in navigating the new animal drug approval process, and provide fisheries professionals with up-to-date information about existing and pending drug approvals, as well as extensive drug use guidance information. We are a partner-based organization and couldn’t accomplish our mission without the support of our colleagues in the field.

AADAP sends out a monthly news bulletin via an email listserv. These bulletins contain updates about aquaculture drugs currently in the approval process, AADAP programmatic updates, and aquaculture drug use guidance information. If you would like to sign up to receive the AADAP Update, please email Julie Schroeter to be added to our email list.