Indiana may be known for corn, but the state’s aquaculture industry (or fish farming) is gaining speed.
Indiana produces roughly 1.5 million pounds of fish per year, ringing in at a total estimated value of $15 million for the state’s economy. About 40 farmers grow several types of fish including tilapia, yellow perch, prawns, baitfish, catfish, shrimp and more. Bell Aquaculture, located in Redkey, is the world’s largest yellow perch farm.
Indiana aquaculture is supported by major markets close by, plus the availability of necessary resources such as meal from the state’s corn and soybean farmers.
In fact, these industries work hand-in-hand. Aquaculture farmers currently use about 3 million pounds of feed. By replacing a percentage of fishmeal with Indiana-grown soybean meal, aquaculture becomes more environmentally and economically sustainable.
A Top Producer
When thinking of Indiana agriculture, most people gravitate toward vast fields of corn and soybeans. And while those crops are extremely important to the state, Indiana has earned its spot in top national rankings for several other commodities.
The Hoosier State is 10th nationally in total agricultural production and in the top five for crop production, thanks to the abundance of corn and soybeans.
It’s also ranked fifth in the nation for swine production and third for poultry. In the fruits and vegetables category, Indiana takes the fifth spot for cantaloupe production, sixth for tomatoes and watermelon, and 12th for blueberries.
Don Villwock, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau, credits the state’s progressive farmers for the nationwide success. “Even though Indiana is the smallest state west of the Allegheny Mountains, we’re at the top of the list for so many products,” he says. “The reason? Some of the most innovative and progressive farmers in the world can be found here in Indiana.”
Indiana’s Top Farming Activity, 2012