North Carolina shellfish industry gets boost with loan program | Regional
Shellfish farming in North Carolina has received a big boost from a recently announced loan program to help shellfish producers.
In a press release, Raleigh-based Thread Capital, a subsidiary of the North Carolina Rural Center, along with Array Community Development Corporation, Beaufort, announced the Shellfish Producer Loan Program, created in partnership with the North Carolina Coastal Federation .
“We’ll be able to give people the capital injection they need to pay staff or buy equipment so they can grow,” Kevin Daniels, president of Array CDC, told the Carolina Log. “This is a much needed economic injection into the aquaculture industry segment.” Daniels’ wife, Lavonda Daniels, is vice president of Array CDC.
The program will provide loans of up to $50,000 to qualified shellfish growers in all coastal counties of the state.
“We are excited to be able to offer this new loan product specifically to shellfish growers in North Carolina,” said Thread Capital Executive Director Jonathan Brereton. “The economic and environmental impact of this program will be invaluable and will ensure that the shellfish industry continues to grow and thrive in North Carolina, and we are grateful to all of the partners involved in making this program possible.”
Daniels said the program stems from the Coastal Federation’s partnership with the state Legislature to launch a study in 2018. As a result, the Legislature determined that four areas were needed to improve the shellfish industry, including the creation of a loan fund.
He credits former Rep. Pat McElraft, who served Carteret and Jones counties, for helping get him through the legislature and into law.
The CN General Assembly appropriated funds in the state budget adopted in November 2021.
Working capital and/or equipment loans will be available to new and existing North Carolina shellfish growers who already have a North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Coverage lease. USDA FSA Uninsured Catastrophe Assistance (NAP) program. Terms will range from 12 to 60 months, depending on the use of loan funds.
With over 1.4 million acres of coastal waters biologically and physically suitable for shellfish farming, this program is part of a larger strategy that aims to increase the market value of the industry to $100 million and create 1,000 new jobs by 2030.
“This is an important step in the growth of the shellfish industry in the state,” said Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic, deputy director of policy for the NC Coastal Federation. “The program will enable producers to reach their full potential, which will strengthen the coastal economy.”
Daniels said there is also technical support that will also be available to help with back-office support services.
Shellfish farmers will be supported by Thread Capital, Array CDC or a combination of the two organisations.