Lending Successful

Oyster Farming Equipment

by The Florida Oyster Trading Company
Oyster Farming Equipment

Additional oyster grow cages will allow FOTC to deliver more craft oysters uniquely grown in the same waters from seed to harvest.

Project Summary
  • Location: Pensacola, FL
  • Products: Aquaculture
  • Loan Term: 48 months
  • Interest Only Period: 9 months
  • Net Interest Rate: 8.50% APR
  • Repayments Begin: 1 month after disbursement
  • Individual Lender Cap: $5,000
100% of $52,900

Funded on 08/22/2023


Stationed on the deep blue waters of Pensacola Bay, The Florida Oyster Trading Company is a ‘for the industry, by the industry’ resource provider for local oyster aquaculture farms. Working in collaboration with the Florida Sea Grant IFAS extension, they plan to equip local oyster farms with fresh seed, wet storage, and processing infrastructure. Josh Neese, founder and aquaculture veteran, started the business to generate a larger industry-wide impact, and recognized that the most prevalent need of Gulf Coast oyster farmers is access to local seed.

The micro-hatchery model is critical in decentralizing the industry and creating more localized seed producers, promoting greater seafood authenticity, and growing the blue economy at a local level. Ultimately the micro-hatchery model will help restructure the industry and provide more producers with oyster seeds from their own area, which is critical to the success of these seeds given that seeds produced from out of their area, may or may not be suitable to the farms’ estuary. 

Josh has been working with the aquaculture community in the Pensacola region for years. They intend to establish a cluster of oyster farmers to restore oyster habitats and to reinvigorate wild oyster populations through innovative and holistic practices. To do this, they’re leveraging the best international AgTech developed by SmartOysters and employing a small footprint to minimize overhead and maximize efficiency.

Use of Funds

The Florida Oyster Trading Company will be purchasing additional grow cages to finish some of their own oyster seed stock into fully matured oysters ready for market. These oysters will be differentiated in that they will be 100% products of their estuary – from the Broodstock in which they are spawned to growing in those same waters from seed to harvest. 

One of the benefits of growing oysters in the Gulf is the shorter time to maturity. Once seeded, oysters can be ready to bring to market in 10-12 months, this is compared to a growing time of almost double the length as you go into colder climates. A shorter grow time means a faster path to sales and revenue. 

Regenerative & Sustainable Practices

Too many oyster farmers are limited to purchasing out of state seed (and only when it’s available) in order to grow in local estuaries. This is both economically and ecologically unsustainable. In contrast, The Florida Oyster Trading Company maintains local genetic authenticity while assisting farms with seafood integrity and sustainability. They do this in a number of ways:

  • Their patent-pending micro-hatchery production model produces authentic local seed and genetic certification for farmers by utilizing only locally and sustainably sourced broodstock.

  • Their production site is in a high-nutrient area with the salinity necessary for developmental growth, so they never have to use chemical treatments and can rely on native algae for feed.

  • By cultivating a cluster consisting of farms, they’re piloting a scalable enterprise that can be a model across the country.

  • As consumers enjoy the true, native products of the local waters facilitated by The Florida Oyster Trading Company’s resources, they’ll be engaged in supporting both local blue businesses and the ecosystem restoration that local oyster farms are undertaking.

  • FOTC is committed to the development of their local blue economy through job creation, supply chain stability, and a focus on Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

You can learn more about The Florida Oyster Trading Company by visiting their website: https://floystertradingco.com/

  • August 23, 2023

    Thank You!

    Hi everyone, this is Josh with The Florida Oyster Trading Company and I am writing to express our gratitude, not only for your participation in our loan campaign but also for your belief in our mission. And apologies for the delay in communicating this but the loan was fully funded before we realized it had launched, which is a testament to how incredible the Steward lending community is in supporting a healthier planet. So again, thank you.

    This loan will provide growout gear for the seed that was produced this season (in the micro-hatchery funded through Steward) for next year's harvest as well as free up working capital to continue to scale. FOTC is the largest leaseholder in the Gulf of Mexico with three distinct production sites already acquired throughout the panhandle and more on the horizon. So thanks to your participation we are well on our way to scaling beyond current maximum production. And more oysters in the water means a healthier estuary and a healthier local blue economy.

    Lastly as lenders please feel free to reach out to me directly should you ever have any questions, are interested in an update, or just want to learn more about oysters, aquaculture, and The Florida Oyster Trading Company. My email is jtneese@floystertradingco.com. Thank you again and talk soon,

    -Josh Neese

This loan will be made to The Florida Oyster Trading Company, a Florida limited liability company, that is dedicated to providing quality oyster seed and other services to the U.S. aquaculture industry. 

This loan is for purchasing grow cages that will allow The Florida Oyster Trading Company to grow out some of their oyster seed to mature oysters to sell into the market. This loan is secured by a general lien across business assets.

The borrower’s interest rate for this loan is 9%, with a net interest rate of 8.5% being passed on to the lender (accounting for a .5% servicing spread). The first 9 months are interest-only payments, paid from an interest reserve built into the loan. Fully amortized monthly payments begin 10 months after funds are disbursed. 

Borrower Loan Agreement Download

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