Aquaculture Center publishes fact sheet for North Central Region
June 27, 2022
By Maryam Farag
The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center has recently published a fact sheet in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, outlining the industry and “what today’s Midwest producer can expect.”
According to the publication “Introduction to Aquaculture in the North Central Region,”, the Midwest had 271 aquaculture farms as of the most recent Census of Aquaculture, conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture. Those farms represented 9.2 per cent of the nation’s nearly 3,000 aquaculture farms, and farm-gate sales was 2.8 per cent of the $1.52 billion in total U.S. sales.
The publication stresses the importance of a good business plan, using modest and conservative production numbers and focusing on the higher side for variable and fixed costs. “It is important to overestimate costs and underestimate yield as the opposite can lead to significant financial strain on the business.”
“Just like any venture, the business usually costs much more to get started and takes longer to get to full production than original optimistic projections would suggest,” according to the authors, Matthew Smith, aquaculture program director with Ohio State University Extension; and Greg Lutz, professor and aquaculture specialist with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.
The publication outlines a half-dozen different aquaculture production systems used in the Midwest, including ponds, aquaponics, raceways and cage/net pen cultures.
“Aquaculture is an extremely exciting, diverse and interesting segment within agriculture, but a thorough review and understanding of the biology and business model being considered is critical,” the authors conclude.