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Aquaculture Market For Indiana Soybeans

Salmonids Economics +2 more

US - Purdue University's Alumni Fish Fry in February proved popular last year, enough to mean that Indiana grown Bell Perch will be on the menu again this time around, at the event sponsered by the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA).

Indiana Soybean Alliance Aquaculture Director, Dr Steve Hart told Hoosier Ag Today, that there was 100 per cent positive reaction to fish on the plates last year. “Everyone was very excited. In fact they were so excited that this year we are actually doubling the amount of fish. We ran out of perch last year so to make sure that doesn’t happen again we’ve gone ahead and doubled what we’re going to provide to the chef this year.”

Aquaculture represents a market for soybean farmers because of soy meal in the fish diet, a change from the traditional diet. “Basically it’s a diet made up of smaller fish that are made into a meal. The problem is there is not a whole lot of fish meal available on the market and it’s incredibly expensive and prices keep getting higher every year. This last December prices were at an all time high. So we were looking at using soy meal as an alternative. It’s a very high quality protein ingredient that you can put into diets and the fish will eat. It’s one of the best alternatives on the market.”

Dr Hart added, “It’s kind of natural progression for soybean groups to be looking at aquaculture. It is the fastest growing sector of livestock in the world today, so it’s just a natural fit.”

Soybean meal demand has been very high and projections are that it will continue on that path. Dr Hart thinks aquaculture is one of the best opportunities for soy in the future. “As we continue to see yield increases we’re going to need to find new markets for those soybeans. We really view aquaculture as the probably the primary market for those advances in soybean technology.”

Indiana Soybean Alliance is providing the fish from Bell Aquaculture. Their corporate headquarters and processing facilities are in Redkey, Indiana, about five miles from the fish farm production facilities in Albany.