Aquaculture producers in Alabama now have access to disaster relief funding in the event of a federal disaster declaration. June 1 is when USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began a policy change to the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP).
According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), the update makes fish raised for food and other aquatic species eligible for disaster assistance as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture makes declarations. In Alabama, this includes farm-raised catfish, an industry that annually produces more than 90 million pounds of fish worth over $99 million. Prior to the update, only farm-raised game and bait fish were eligible for death loss ELAP payments.
Traditionally, ELAP only provided financial assistance to producers of livestock and honeybees for certain adverse weather events or loss conditions. These events include blizzards and wildfires.
To be eligible for financial disaster assistance, losses of fish raised for food must have occurred on or after January 1, 2021. FSA is waiving the requirement to file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when losses are apparent. However, this only applies to losses occurring prior to June 1, 2021.
For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center.