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AA24 Features NIFA-Funded Research and Extension Projects

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AA24 Features NIFA-Funded Research and Extension Projects


Aquaculture America 2024, the most prominent national aquaculture conference and exposition in the United States, will feature research and Extension projects supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The conference takes place February 18-24 in San Antonio, Texas.


“Aquaculture America 2024 is the premiere conference and trade show for the aquaculture industry,” said Dr. Tim Sullivan, national program leader who oversees NIFA’s aquaculture grant program. “It is an excellent opportunity for NIFA-funded researchers and Extension specialists working to support the development of a globally competitive U.S. aquaculture industry to directly reach those at the forefront of this booming industry.”

“Global demand for seafood is projected to increase by 70% in the next 30 years, and harvests from capture fisheries are stable or declining,” Sullivan said. “A dramatic increase in aquaculture is needed to supply future aquatic food needs. In cooperation with our Land-grant University partners and diverse stakeholders, NIFA provides leadership and funding for aquaculture research, technology development and Extension programs.”

Sullivan will host a 3.5-hour education session, “Impacts and Outcomes: USDA NIFA Support for U.S. Aquaculture,” on February 21 at the conference. The session will feature 13 NIFA-funded research and Extension projects, including:

  • Developing the First Burbot Fingerling Production Facility in the U.S. By the Way, What the Heck is a Burbot Anyway?
    Colby Johnson, with Evergreen Aquatics of La Center, Washington, will discuss his Small Business Innovative Research program funded project that aims to establish the first burbot fingerling production facility in the nation. Burbot is a new candidate for commercial aquaculture production. It grows well in captivity; its filets, liver and roe are highly regarded for human consumption; and its basic husbandry requirements are understood.

  • Overcoming Challenges in Disease-Free Certification of Aquafeed and Feed Ingredients by PCR
    Arun K. Dhar of The University of Arizona will discuss the development of a new diagnostic method that provides a much-needed practical solution for the aquafeed industry, facilitating the assurance of biosecurity of manufactured feeds and aquafeed ingredients until a crustacean cell line is available for screening infectious pathogens in aquafeed.

  • Quantification and Management of Risks in U.S. Aquaculture Businesses
    Shraddha Hedge, Texas A&M University, will discuss her project, “How risky are US aquaculture businesses: Economic risk assessment of aquaculture species, production systems, and risk management strategies” funded by NIFA’s Special Research Grants for Aquaculture Research Program. At least 30 risk models will be developed for catfish, trout, tilapia, hybrid striped bass, red drum, baitfish/sportfish and marine shrimp in the production systems used by U.S. producers for commercial production. The results will be compared across species and production systems.

  • SUSHI: A USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agriculture Systems Project
    Brandy E. Phipps of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, will discuss her NIFA-funded Sustainable Agriculture Systems project, “Sustainable Use of a Safe Hemp Ingredient (SUSHI),” which investigates the safety, efficacy, sustainability and economic viability of hemp grain as an aquaculture feed ingredient. It will support food sovereignty and improved quality of life in vulnerable communities through agriculture education, nutrition programming, workforce training, economic development and increased production of and access to healthy foods.

The NIFA aquaculture research and Extension base is highly diverse in terms of funding mechanisms, areas of research and species cultured. NIFA also provides leadership, on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture, to facilitate the coordination of all federal programs in aquaculture. This is done through the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, which reports to the National Science and Technology Council of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Office of the Science Advisor to the President.

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