The following letter was recently sent to Arkansas aquaculture producers from Ted McNulty, director of the aquaculture division at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture:

This letter is to announce the release of funds by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to assist aquaculture producers for losses associated with high feed input costs during the 2008 calendar year. The Arkansas Agriculture Department expects to receive $7,815,885 and is working diligently to release these funds as expeditiously as possible.

Meetings are being scheduled to explain the guidelines of the program and to assist the farmers in the application process. It is imperative that all applications are received by the Arkansas Agriculture Department by Monday, June 22, 2009. Therefore, we recommend that you take the time to attend one of the three meetings. If you absolutely cannot attend any of the scheduled meetings, we will make the application and guidelines available to the general public, as soon as possible, on the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Aquaculture Division website. This site can be accessed at www.aad.ar.gov/aquaculture. The link to the application and guidelines can be accessed on the home page through the link entitled 2008 AGP.

In an effort to expedite the application process, below is a list of documentation that will be required to be eligible for the 2008 Aquaculture Grant Program (AGP).

1. W-9

2. 2008 Feed Tonnage Report

3. Certification letter from the feed mill certifying tons purchased in 2008 and the average feed price paid by the aquaculture producer in the 2008 calendar year.

4. Producers that are NOT individuals will be required to establish a DUNS number or update an existing DUNS number. This can be done at www.dnb.com.

5. Producers that are NOT individuals are also required to register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database or update and existing registration with CCR www.ccr.gov.

The final meeting is:

• Thursday, June 18, 10:30 a.m., Craighead County Extension Building, 611 East Washington Ave., Suite. A, Jonesboro, Ark.