The following letter — abridged by Delta Farm Press — was recently sent to catfish producers from Ted McNulty, director of the aquaculture division at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture:

“The enactment of the Food and Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 created five new Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Programs.

“The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (EALHF) requires the producer to have Federal Crop Insurance or NAP coverage on all crop acreage in all counties that is planted — or intended to be planted — for harvest. This includes but is not limited to: crops for grain, hay, grazing, seed, aquaculture, sod, fresh market, processed market, juice market and honey.

“Although aquaculture has not been defined, and what species will be covered has not been determined, I recommend all fish farmers consult with their local FSA office before September 16, 2008. Additional information can be obtained from the FSA Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov or by contacting your local FSA office.

“We continue to work on getting feed voucher assistance for the U.S. farm raised catfish industry. Hopefully this measure will be included in the economic stimulus package that Congress will consider after returning to Washington, D.C., in September.

“(The Arkansas congressional delegation is) again working tirelessly for the catfish industry. I hope all catfish farmers will take the time to let them know how much we appreciate their hard work and support.

“It is time once again for the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Aquaculture Field day on Oct. 2, 2008. (The field day will be held) at the UAPB Aquaculture Research Station from 9 a.m. until noon. Among the demonstrations will be: new flexible grader panels, winter feeding, algae and biofuels, growing rice in catfish ponds, broodstock nutrition, corn gluten in feed, as well as aeration and catfish production. The Catfish Farmers of Arkansas will host a catfish fry following the demonstrations. Please make plans to attend these informative sessions.”