Courtesy of NAA:
The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) has been hearing from, and working with farmers and aquaculture farmer associations, relative to the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP). ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. To access ELAP program information, click here.
On June 1, 2021, ELAP was expanded beyond baitfish and gamefish to include all farmed aquatic animals except for alligator and turtle and certain very early life stages. The program expansion provided, for the first time, a truly effective catastrophic disaster assistance program for US aquaculture!
If you are not familiar with ELAP, then you must become familiar now and not wait until a catastrophic event. The Farm Service Agency has posted a 43-minute webinar describing eligibility, annual acreage reporting, general application process and required livestock loss documentation. To access the recording, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSB9OdexVho. Did you notice the phrase “annual acreage report”? Visit your local FSA county office and report that acreage now!!!! The deadline to do so each year is September 30th. State and county offices can be found here.
Farmers applying for disaster assistance through ELAP, and who have not interacted with the Farm Service Agency through the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), are reporting certain challenges with agency staff and County Committees. If you or other farms you know have not used NAP, then the following pointers may apply:
Aquaculture is brand new to the ELAP program from the Washington DC office through State FSA Directors to the County Executive Director and County Committee levels. They may not know aquaculture. Be patient. Become the credible information source. Provide education. We recommend:
The Farm Service Agency is going to need from you a pre-disaster event crop inventory, post-disaster event crop inventory, normal production cycle mortality over the course of a growing cycle, and market price. We recommend:
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the National Aquaculture Association Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-216-2400.