The USDA is providing $20 million in grant money for farm-raised aquaculture producers who need assistance due to 2009’s high feed input costs.

The grant covers eligible producers throughout Louisiana.

“Aquaculture producers have been hurt by the continual increase in feed costs over the last several years,” said Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner. “I urge all aquaculture producers to apply for this critical program.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will administer the program.

To be eligible, a producer must have raised an aquaculture species in a controlled environment in 2009. The producer’s 2009 feed costs must be at least 25 percent of his total input costs for the aquaculture operation.

The producer must also have incurred at least a 25 percent price increase of 2009 feed costs above the state’s 2003 to 2007 five-year average feed price.

For more information, contact LDAF Deputy Assistant Commissioner Carrie Castille at (225) 922-1234 or via e-mail at ccastille@ldaf.state.la.us.