Opportunity to Sign-up for the Census of Agriculture Extended! Sign up Now!!!

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) wants recipients of the National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) to know that there is still time to respond. Mailed last December to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, the NACS collects data on agricultural activity and basic farm information. These data will be used to build a survey recipient list for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Response to the NACS is required by federal law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. Questionnaires can be completed securely online at agcounts.usda.gov, by mail or phone. The response deadline is extended to March 7.

“Filling out the NACS is one of the most important steps to determining who should receive the Census of Agriculture questionnaire this fall,” said Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater. “The influential Census of Agriculture dataset is used by many – from local and federal governments, to educators, researchers, agribusinesses, media and more – impacting decisions that affect producers, their farms, families, communities, industries, and the nation.  Every producer should have a voice. Through the ag census, their voices will help shape the future of American agriculture.”

Ag producers who did not receive a NACS and do not currently receive USDA censuses and surveys can sign up to be counted at agcounts.usda.gov/getcounted. All information reported to NASS is kept confidential, protected by federal law. To learn more about NACS and the Census of Agriculture, visit nass.usda.gov/go/nacs.

All the best,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Does Procrastination Pay?

Yes, it does! 

The early bird registration discount for Aquaculture 2022 has been extended until this Friday, February 18th. Click here to register!

Why attend?

·         Keynote speaker Dr. Rosamond Naylor, William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science, Stanford University, examines How Sustainable is Aquaculture?

  • 2022 Joseph P. McCraren Award Presentations!
  • Information packed conference sessions: click here.
  • Farmer-oriented sessions sponsored by the NAA:
    • Aquaculture 101
    • Aquaculture for Ecosystem Outcomes
    • Aquaculture Knowledge from Old Coots Reprised
    • Aquaculture Regulations: Navigating Cost, Complexity and Consequences
    • California’s Aquaculture Journey: Where We’ve Traveled / Where We’re Headed
    • Federal Actions Supporting U.S. Aquaculture
    • Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck: The Value of Comprehensive Veterinary Services
    • NOAA Sea Grant Research, Education and Engagement
    • US Trout Farmers Association Trout Forum
    • Utilizing Veterinarians to Improve Your Bottom Line
    • Workforce Development
  • Trade show chock-full with the latest and best technology, services, and products. Take advantage of Show Specials!
  • NAA Live Auction – Attend to support the NAA and bid on great donations!
  • Tired of winter – visit sunny San Diego!

See you in San Diego,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Just the Facts: Lacey Act and America COMPETES Act

Social media is carrying erroneous Lacey Act and COMPETES Act information or assumptions.  Here are Just the Facts for you to share or post…

HR 4521 (a 2,921-page bill known as the America COMPETES Act) has passed the US House of Representatives.  Within the bill is Section 71102 which significantly amends the Lacey Act to increase federal animal importation and interstate regulation.
 
The Lacey Act, passed in 1900, applies to all captive-bred as well as wild harvested “species of wild mammals, wild birds, fish (including mollusks and crustaceans), amphibians, or reptiles, or the offspring or eggs of any such species” found to be “injurious to human beings, to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, or to wildlife or the wildlife resources of the United States.” Captive breeding an animal does not classify it as “domesticated” under the Lacey Act.
 
Now a joint committee of the House and Senate will convene to figure out how to reconcile HR 4521 with a Senate companion bill, S 1260 (a 2,375-page bill known as USICA) to produce compromise legislation for the House and Senate to consider.
 
America COMPETES Act, Section 71102, radically changes the way that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been regulating importation and interstate movement of wildlife species – a regulatory activity spanning 120 years by:  

  • Creating a “White List” of species that could remain in trade if and only if the species has been determined by the FWS to be in more than “minimal quantities” in trade (a standard to be determined by regulation) and not “injurious.” If an animal is not on the new “White List,” the species is by default “banned” as an invasive/injurious species and banned from importation or interstate movement.
  • White lists are unusual for the federal government as a regulatory tool and signatory or participant to international agreements and organizations predicated on prohibiting or restricting species trade for at-risk animals (i.e., Endangered Species Act or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), noxious plants (i.e., International Plant Protection Convention), pathogens that may infect US agricultural animals (World Organization for Animal Health) and imported animals and animal products capable of causing human disease (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
  • Providing the FWS with new emergency listing authority of species in trade as well as species not yet in trade – a process that denies basic due process involving advance notice, opportunity to comment, public hearings, etc. While potentially appropriate for a species “not in trade,” this approach leaves US aquaculture at-risk for emergency listing for thousands of native and non-native aquatic species produced and sold to stock farms for grow-out, as farmed seafood, bait, recreational fish, biological control of nuisance aquatic plants or for aquarium and water gardening.
  • Interstate movement of animals could be severely impacted if an animal does not make it onto the “White List.”  The proposed amendment and the current Lacey Act does not provide any flexibility to the FWS to allow trade of species in portions of the country where they pose little to no risk (e.g., a tropical species in Alaska does not pose a similar risk as a tropical species in South Florida).
  • A “White List” is an impossible task for port inspectors or law enforcement to rapidly distinguish, for animal health and welfare reasons, the >1,000 farmed aquatic animals in the United States, >2,500 native freshwater and marine fish species, 466+ globally farmed species and the current 785 Injurious Wildlife Species already listed. Notably, the number of fish species in the world are estimated to be ~34,000 and grows at approximately 250 new species each year. A recent study estimated for the period 2000-14, animal imports reported to FWS because of the Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act and Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora consisted of >2 million wildlife or wildlife product shipments, ~13,000 species, and >3.2 billion live organisms. The authors have posted a publicly accessible database for this information: GitHub – ecohealthalliance/lemis: R package providing access to data on wildlife imports into the United States.
  • Section 71102 was included in the COMPETES Act without a hearing by the House Committee on Natural Resources.  This Committees is responsible for legislative oversight of the Lacey Act.  Ranking Member to the Committee, Representative Bruce Westerman, spoke to this lack of thoughtful consideration during House debate when he stated:

This bill gives supreme unilateral authority to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine what species can be imported into the U.S. This so-called white list mandated in the bill, it’s virtually impossible to implement and will effectively shut down aquaculture and similar industries who need trade to conduct business. The weaponization of the Lacey Act will only empower bureaucrats and ignores the current state-based approach on species imports. It’s legislative laziness since there have no hearings or even an introduced bill on this topic.

Next Steps:
A Senate/House reconciliation committee will convene to consider HR 4521 and S 1260.  The National Aquaculture Association will share information informing the aquaculture community who to contact as the appointed conferees in the House and Senate and suggest talking points to include in your communication whether by phone, email or fax.
 
Informing your Representative and Senators now of your opposition to Section 71102 is encouraged. In every instance, please remember you are speaking to dedicated Congressional staff that are charged with noting your comments and communicating them clearly and concisely to the House or Senate member.  Be courteous, be clear, be concise.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate.

All the best,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

APHIS Announces Final Strategic Framework for Enhancing Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and other Emerging Diseases Under the American Rescue Plan

Fortunately for US aquaculture few diseases are associated with our aquatic animals that pose a significant threat to humans; however, pathogens that impact conspecific wild animals which may be in proximity to farms or when farmed animals are released to natural waters for grow-out, bait, restoration or recreational fishing, the picture becomes much more nuanced.

The NAA has worked to update the National Aquaculture Health Program & Standards (National Aquaculture Health Plan and Standards 2021-2023 (usda.gov)) and are working with APHIS to create a much more flexible, workable and effective farm-level Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program & Standards (CAHPS) (USDA APHIS | Comprehensive Aquaculture Health Program Standards) focusing on farm biosecurity and farm-led aquatic animal health management.

Please add to your “to-do list” signing up for APHIS alerts (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (govdelivery.com)) and encouraging your members embrace and support the new national plan and adopting CAHPS to elevate on-farm aquatic animal health management.

All the best,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Speak up during a USDA National Organic Program Regulatory Priorities Listening Session

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks stakeholder feedback on regulatory priorities for the development of clear organic standards that support a level playing field and market development.

The National Aquaculture Association recommends everyone sign-up to speak in support of moving up in rulemaking priority the proposed Organic Aquaculture Standards. In 2005 an Aquaculture Working Group was appointed by the National Organic Standards Board and drafted a proposed organic aquaculture rule. This opportunity was welcomed with enthusiasm by the U.S. aquaculture community. A USDA Organic Label will create a positive consumer response, level the playing field for U.S. farmers to compete with foreign farm-raised seafoods labeled organic through foreign certifications, increase market value and increase farm-gate income. A proposed rule has been on hold since 2016.

USDA intends to use information received through public comments to guide the prioritization of future organic standards development. The virtual meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 21, 2022, from 1:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time. Details on how to sign up to make oral comments, submit written comments, and the meeting link (via Zoom), will be posted to the NOP Priorities Listening Session web page, linked below.

The deadline to sign up to make oral comments during the virtual meeting is February 28, 2022. The deadline to submit written comments is March 30, 2022.

     What:   Listening Session on organic regulatory priorities

     When:  Monday, March 21, 2022
                  1:00-3:00pm, Eastern Time

     Where:  Virtual via Zoom

   Web Page:  NOP Regulatory Priorities Listening Session

USDA certified organic products are an increasingly important part of American agriculture, and the organic community represents one of the fastest-growing food and farming sectors in the U.S. and global marketplace. NOP protects the integrity of the USDA organic seal, which supports growth in the organic market for organic farms and businesses, and those interested in exploring the organic market.  NOP develops the market and protects organic integrity by developing and enforcing clear standards to create a level playing field, and through providing oversight of third-party accredited certifying agents, and providing technical assistance to support farmer and market development.

USDA is committed to the values of diversity and inclusion and works to remove barriers to program participation. An inclusive culture ensures we consider all perspectives and the full range of interests most likely to be affected by any USDA decision or action. USDA believes the variety of perspectives in developing NOP priorities will lead to a regulatory agenda that best supports all those we serve.

For a brief history and rationale supporting a US aquaculture organic rule entitled, Sixteen Years and Counting: An Aquaculture Organic Rule, contact the NAA Office at naa@thenaa.net or call 850-216-2400.

Thank you,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400

Please participate in the 2021 COVID-19 impact survey.

Please participate in the 2021 COVID-19 impact survey. The purpose of this survey is to quantify the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on commercial aquaculture, aquaponics and suppliers during the second half of 2021 (July – December). Please provide your responses based on the period of time between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
 
This survey will close at 11:59 pm (eastern time) on this Friday, February 11, 2022.
 
Survey link: https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eKFAHJUoYYDh2Qe
 
This survey should take about 20 minutes of your time to complete.

This survey is a continuation of the effort started in 2020 to capture the evolving effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but will be distributed only two times for 2021 (this is the final instance of the survey). Please participate in this final impact surveys. No personally identifiable information (name, address, e-mail, telephone number, IP address, etc.) will be collected. All data from this survey will remain anonymous.  

Results from this study may be used to communicate the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on commercial aquaculture, aquaponics or suppliers to State and Federal agencies, in an effort to secure relief or access to other beneficial programs.

Results from this study may also be published in the future. Participation in this research survey is voluntary. By continuing with this survey, you are consenting to the use of your responses for research purposes. If you do not consent for your responses to be used for research purposes, please discontinue this survey by closing the browser window. 

If you would like a copy of the summary results, or have any questions about this study, please contact: Jonathan van Senten – jvansenten@vt.edu or Matthew Smith – smith.11460@osu.edu.

This survey is being supported by funding from the National Sea Grant Office and the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

Thank you,

Paul W. Zajicek, Executive Director

National Aquaculture Association (USA)

Office: 850-216-2400