In 2011 the FTFFA ventured into a new COOP store with the expressed mission of supplying fish farmers with feed, and other necessary supplies, at the lowest price possible. Now under the new management of Jerry Kust, this continues to be our mission. Other then the $48,000 association sponsorship fee needed to maintain FTFFA activities, we are not in business to make a profit and in the event that we ever do it will be redistributed back to the members as a patronage refund. We believe that the vast majority of fish farmers want to support FTFFA and its efforts to protect our industry; however, we also recognize that as a business person you need to get your supplies at a competitive price and are in no way obligated to buy from our COOP store. We also realize that in the past few years our prices began increasing until they finally reached a point where they were no longer competitive. I want to take this opportunity to let you know that these pricing issues have now been corrected and I would like to encourage everyone, who was beginning to source products away from the store, to give us another look. The FTFFA needs your support so that we can continue to promote our industry and also protect it from the many legislative actions which potentially threaten to put us all out of business.
On a side note, I would like to repudiate a rumor which has been going around: the FTFFA store is NOT for sale.
Although the 2016 legislative session got off to a good start for the aquaculture industry, the ending was not so great. Our lobbyist, Joseph Spratt, reported to us that, as early as the third week of the legislative session, the Aquaculture Research Council (ARC) funding requests were in both the House and Senate proposed budgets and when the final state budget was approved several weeks later some $663,000 was included for ARC aquaculture projects. However, Governor Scott used his line-item veto authority to cut some $256 million from the approved budget and that unfortunately included the entire aquaculture funding request. He stated that, “there were other funding avenues available for these projects”. Members of ARC will be meeting shortly with the governor’s staff to inform his office of the importance of these projects to Florida’s aquaculture industry.
The FTFFA Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner is just around the corner (June 11, 2016). This year it will be held at the Plant City Elks Lodge and will be catered by the Texas Cattle Company. For just $10.00 you will be served a 12oz New York Strip steak and, as always, there will be loads of door prices. I have always enjoyed attending this function because the meeting allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry, enabling me to see where trends are going and to learn about issues which affect all of us, while the reception and dinner facilitates meeting and mingling with fellow farmers, university researchers, purchasing agents, and all of the other representatives of our industry. I hope to see many of you there.
And remember... “The best ornamental fish come from Florida”. Let’s keep it that way.