The 2019 Aquatic Lounge held in late March at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando was again well received and we had good floor traffic flow at the ‘new’ location near the main show entrance. FTTFA again hosted 4 aquatic mini-workshops in the Aquatic Lounge show floor that were well attended. Thanks to all presenters who took part in this program. The main topic of discussion on the floor was ‘what is the impact on our business going to be with WalMart’s exit from selling livestock in their stores.’ The consensus is that it’s still too early to determine as the removal of live fish is just now being implemented in many of their stores across the country. We can only wait and see how it plays out. On a positive note, I can’t stress enough of how we are lucky to be a part of the $72 billion pet industry and to be a part of the Global Pet Expo - the largest pet trade show in America and to show attendees that the best tropical fish and aquatic plants come from Florida.
The 2019 Florida state Legislative session wrapped up the first week of May and unfortunately aquaculture did not fair well. We were hoping to get some funding for the Ruskin Lab and for ARC approved aquaculture research projects – neither which make it into the final budget. Elsewhere in this newsletter is a detailed report from our lobbyist Jim Spratt.
FTFFA with a generous donation from Spectrum Brands are putting an aquarium in FL DACS Commissioner Nicki Freed’s office in the state Capitol -at her request! We are pleased to showcase Florida’s tropical fish and aquatic plant industry in this very public and important place.
The Coop Building Committee, under the leadership of Garry David, has inspected several potential buildings in southeastern Hillsborough County for a new permanent home for our Store that we will own. Three prospective buildings have been visited so far and the search and negotiations are continuing as I write this.
Our Past President John Skidmore has been appointed as the new tropical fish representative on the Aquaculture Review Council (replacing Art Rawlins). The ARC consists of 7 appointed members that among other missions screens and selects projects to be funded by the state to further Florida’s aquaculture industry. By the way – I serve as the aquatic plant representative on this Council.
In closing I hope everyone will make plans to attend the 2019 FTFFA Annual Meeting to be held on June 22nd at the Plant City Elks Lodge. The annual membership with meeting will include the election of Directors, committee reports and several door prize drawings during the meeting in addition to the usual prize giveaways we have after the dinner. So you will want to come early for the full meeting agenda and a chance to be a winner! As usual, farm members are eligible to register a very special discounted price for the reception, steak dinner and be entered in the prize drawings. I urge you to pre-register now or before June 14. A complete schedule of events and registration form is in this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting,