North Carolina aquaculture producers are eligible to receive grant money to offset losses sustained in 2009 due to high feed costs as part of the 2009 Aquaculture Grant Program.

The program is funded through a block grant from the U.S. Farm Service Agency.

Producers must have raised an aquaculture species in a controlled environment in 2009 and continue to be in operation. In addition, to be eligible for a grant, total feed costs in 2009 must have represented at least 25 percent of the total input costs of operation, and the 2009 costs must represent an increase of at least 25 percent above the average of the previous five years.

“We are glad to be able to administer this grant program for our aquaculture producers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Aquaculture is an important part of our agricultural economy, and it’s a great example of the diverse commodities produced in our state.”

North Carolina aquaculture producers raise catfish, hybrid striped bass, freshwater prawn, trout, gamefish and ornamental species.

Farmers can download an application and find out more about the program at www.ncagr.gov/markets/aquaculture/. The deadline for applications is Dec. 15.