Ag news in briefs
Florida aquaculture sales top $69M in 2012 TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services announced last Tuesday the 2012 Florida aquaculture survey showed $69 million of aquaculture sales in the state last year. Florida aquaculture sales were reported by 404 farms on a statewide survey completed by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Florida aquafarmers produced ornamental fish, shellfish, alligators, aquatic plants, and food, game and bait fish, among other aquatic animals. "We know Florida has some of the best seafood in the world. This survey shows that demand is still great for our high-quality, wholesome seafood," said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.Ornamental sales totaled $35.5 million and consisted of freshwater and marine animals and plants, including freshwater fish, crayfish and marine fish, corals, live rock, snails and shrimp. These species are sold nationally for ornamental uses such as aquariums and water gardens. Sales of aquaculture products for human consumption totaled $24.1 million and included freshwater and marine fish, clams, oysters, shrimp, prawns, alligators and turtles. All other aquaculture totaled about $10 million. The last statewide aquaculture survey was conducted in 2005 and showed $66 million in sales. However, aquaculture sales for food, including mollusks and food fish, increased by more than $2 million, while the biggest drop was in sales of ornamental aquaculture. There were 686 operations that reported being in business in 2012, of those, 404 reported sales during 2012. Many of the farms are small, family-owned and operated; 61 percent of the farms are less than 3 water acres in size. Total water acreage was 4,490. The complete survey can be accessed at www.FloridaAquaculture.com. Virus migrates to U.S., threatens pork prices DENVER - Pork prices could rise in the next few months because of a virus that has migrated to the U.S., killing piglets in 15 states at an alarming rate in facilities where it has been reported. Colorado Department of Agriculture official Dr. Nick Striegel says the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus was thought to exist only in Europe and China. Colorado and 14 other states began reporting the virus in April, and officials have confirmed its presence in about 200 hog facilities around the nation. Striegel says it's unclear how many pigs have died from the virus that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration, but it has been devastating for pork producers where it has been diagnosed. He says the disease is not harmful to humans and there is no evidence that it affects pork products. The virus has been confirmed in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. Listeria source linked to Wis. cheese unknown WATERLOO, Wis. - Inspectors haven't yet determined the source of a Midwest listeria outbreak linked to a Wisconsin cheesemaker, the company's president said. Five people in four states - two in Minnesota and one each in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio - were diagnosed as having listeriosis from May 20 through June 17, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One of the Minnesota residents died, and one of the other sickened people miscarried. The other three were hospitalized.