Jay County-based Bell Aquaculture's new Albany fish feed mill could lead to a big payoff for Hoosier soybean farmers. Indiana Soybean Alliance Aquaculture Director Sheila Lingle says the feed mill can be a catalyst for continued aquaculture growth in Indiana and the Midwest. The mill has a capacity of two million pounds of feed per month and will use soybean meal as an ingredient. July 2, 2014
Indianapolis, Ind. — With the opening of a new feed mill focusing on fish feeds, more Indiana soybeans will be used to feed a variety of species from shrimp to rainbow trout that are being raised in aquaculture operations across the Midwest.
The new feed mill at Bell Farms in Albany, Ind. will have a capacity of two million pounds of feed per month and will use soybean meal as a quality ingredient in many of its feed formulations.
“We congratulate Bell Farms in their commitment to producing sustainable, soy-based feeds here in Indiana,” said David Lowe, president of Indiana Soybean Alliance, the state’s soybean checkoff organization. “We believe a feed mill serving the aquaculture industry located within our state will not only benefit our state’s aquaculture producers by having a local source for quality feeds, but also our soybean farmers as it is another in-state market for our crop.”
ISA has been involved in supporting aquaculture as a market for soybeans for many years, including projects looking at the use of soy-based fish feeds in countries like China, Egypt and India. Since 2007, the organization has focused on supporting domestic aquaculture production with the goal of building demand for soy-based fish feeds.
“Many years ago, Hoosier soybean farmers recognized that aquaculture – fish farming – is a growing segment of agriculture across the world and there were many opportunities to increase demand for soybeans through soy-based fish feeds,” said Shelia Lingle, ISA aquaculture director.
ISA has funded several studies showing that soybean meal is an excellent substitute for fish meal in the diets of various fish species, many grown here in Indiana.
“Indiana soybean farmers invested their checkoff dollars in research to develop soy-based fish feeds and set a goal in 2007 of an in-state aquaculture feed mill in an effort to help grow Indiana’s aquaculture industry,” said Lingle. “The new Bell feed mill accomplishes this goal and looks to be a catalyst for continued aquaculture growth in Indiana and the Midwest.”
Although Indiana’s aquaculture industry is not as large as other components of Indiana agriculture, it is a growing segment of the state’s agricultural industry. According to Purdue University, estimated sales from Indiana fish farms amounted to more than $15 million in 2012, an increase from $3.5 million in 2006.There are about 50 fish producers in Indiana, compared with 18 just seven years ago.
Indiana’s aquaculture industry runs the gamut from small-scale, backyard producers to large-scale producers who sell to national and international markets. Indiana farmers raise fish and shellfish such as yellow perch, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, trout, marine shrimp and freshwater prawns.
To learn more about ISA’s efforts to increase the use of soy-based feeds in aquaculture, visit indianasoybean.com/aquaculture.
Source: Indiana Soybean Alliance