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MASBDA-Funded Project Assists Missouri Aquaculture Industry

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A statewide project funded by the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority has explored the landscape of Missouri’s aquaculture industry and opportunities for growth.

Missouri’s Aquaculture Program promotes aquaculture production to customers in both domestic and international markets.

Missouri fish production includes warm and cold water species, bait, ornamental, food fish, and fish for stocking. In addition, several Missouri companies provide supplies or services that support the industry.

According to the 2018 Census of Aquaculture, Missouri saw $7.67 million in total sales of aquaculture products.

The Next Generation Aquaculture in Missouri project has developed resources that take an inventory of the industry at a state and national level, as well as the feasibility of aquaculture enterprises for new operations. Members of the University of Missouri Agricultural Business and Policy Extension group completed the project.

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and Missouri Aquaculture Association offered integral support and collaboration to learn from successful aquaculture operations, better understand business opportunities available to the state’s crop producers and explore new demand markets.

“This project has given us new insights into aquaculture demand and production capabilities for Missouri farmers,” said Lane Howard, associate director of market development with the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council. “We hope to share these findings and resources with Missouri producers in our efforts to build demand for corn through innovative markets.”

Findings from the project suggest that for Missouri farmers seeking to diversify their income, aquaculture could offer a new revenue stream. Business models can help individuals understand the profitability of enterprises based on desired markets, fish species produced and enterprise infrastructure.

“Achieving profitability on a small scale and seeking opportunities around niche markets are important for Missouri’s aquaculture startups,” said Ryan Milhollin, MU Extension agricultural economist and study organizer. “With the Next Generation Aquaculture in Missouri project, our team has developed a host of free resources to help interested operators better understand major factors when considering an aquaculture business venture.”

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