Will aquaculture sink or swim in Iowa?
That was the question that a record crowd of more than 250 people hoped to get answered at the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) Aquaculture Conference in Ames last week.
They heard from a range of industry experts, who said the opportunities for growing Iowa’s aquaculture industry are perhaps matched only by the challenges preventing seafood from joining beef, pork and poultry as a leading protein sources produced by the state’s farmers.
“It’s exciting times, (but) to make a living in this business, obviously we have to pay attention to the economics,” said Carole Engel, a consultant with Engle-Stone Aquatic$ of Virginia. “Successful businesses are complex and require many good decisions. It’s a bit more like a dairy operation than a row-crop operation.”