The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) and Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association spoke in support of US aquaculture during the first Farm Bill listening session held by the House Committee on Agriculture.
US aquaculture was represented by Amy Stone, NAA Board of Director member, and John Skidmore, President of the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association. The House Committee on Agriculture was led and represented by their Chair Rep. John Conaway (TX) and 11 members. The members included: Rick Allen (GA), Rick Crawford (AR), Neal Dunn (FL), Roger Marshall (KS), Jimmy Panetta (CA), Stacy Plaskett (Virgin Islands), David Scott (GA), Glenn Thompson (PA) and Ted Yoho (FL). Representative Sanford Bishop (GA) and Ranking Member on House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture also attended.
Ms. Stone and Mr. Skidmore spoke from a letter prepared for the event by the NAA. They touched on a Specialty Crops designation for US aquaculture and USDA aquaculture research, aquatic animal health, Wildlife Services and catfish inspection programs. Speakers were allowed two minutes.
Chair Conaway closed the session by providing a charge to the audience. He noted that the Committee was committed to producing a Farm Bill and that speakers presented to Representatives that understood the needs of farmers; however, if US agriculture wanted a strong Farm Bill to pass, then the farming community needs to tell its story to the public and advocate for the Farm Bill to gain support from the rest of the House. Later in the day, the Committee was treated to lunch that included farm-raised clams courtesy Rep. Yoho’s office whose district includes Cedar Key Florida.
The Committee has posted a session recording.