Spring has arrived, fish are spawning and farmers, myself included, are preparing for the long days ahead. As you plan for the next production cycle, remember that each and every one of us is responsible for Florida’s reputation in the aquatic ornamental industry. Our marketing motto is that The Best Ornamental Fish and Plants come from Florida and, with due diligence, we can keep true to that slogan.
The COOP store continues to do very well, thanks to the support of the FTFFA members. During the last week of 2016 your COOP store paid out $30,000 in cash rebates to all qualifying FTFFA members. I believe that these rebates will continue in the following years; therefore, it is in your advantage to pay your member dues, as only paying members qualify for the rebate. More now than ever, we are staying true to our mission statement of providing farmers with the lowest cost feeds and supplies.
In April we hosted a fish farm tour for several US House Congressional and Senate staff members in order to educate them on the scope of our industry, as well as of its importance to the Florida economy and the diversification of the nation’s aquaculture industry. A staff member from Senator Bill Nelson’s, Representative Vern Buchanan’s, and Representative Dennis Ross’s offices were in attendance. The enthusiasm they showed for our industry was welcome and I greatly appreciate the time that they took to learn about our our unique issues and concerns.
In March, 19 members took part in the Aquatic Lounge display at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando. As usual, the 24 units looked great and we showed the pet industry that the Best Tropical Fish and Plants really do come from Florida. We hired a PR agency, which worked in conjunction with a film crew from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to produce a promotional video of the Aquatic Lounge display. The video will debut at our annual membership meeting next month and then be posted on FTFFA.com, Facebook, and YouTube. The main focus of the video is to promote the Aquarium hobby and make people aware of the high quality fish and plants that are being produce in Florida.
Speaking of our annual meeting, please don’t forget to pre-register now for the FTFFA Meeting and Dinner to be held on June 10 at the Plant City Elks Club. This meeting and dinner provides an opportunity to meet with fellow farmers, buyers, and researchers in our industry. As always someone will be inducted into the FTFFA Hall of Fame and there will be lots of door prices, including the favorite: tickets for two compliments of Southwest Airlines. In addition, this year we will be introducing something called the People’s Choice Award. This award comes from donating fish to the Aquatic show in Chicago and having attendees vote for their three favorite fish.
So join us for an enjoyable evening and a delicious steak dinner. I hope to see you there.