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Sunday, September 26, 2021

    Aquaculture Needs Strong Leaders for Industry to Thrive

    ISU Extension and Outreach
    ISU Extension and Outreach reliable information about agriculture, 4H programs, food and nutrition, and family sciences. ISU Extension and Outreach has an office in Muscatine.

    Muscatine Living

    By Joe Morris—Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

    Although you might not think it, many farmers across Iowa practice aquaculture.

    All types of farmers depend on strong leaders, and that is especially true for aquaculture, as fish producers emerge and compete in today’s marketplace.

    To help fish farmers improve their leadership skills, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) have published a fact sheet called, “Leadership Development Training for Aquaculture Producers.”

    This two-page publication was written by Carole Engle, a nationwide leader in aquaculture, and explains why fish producers need to become the spokespeople for their industry, whether that means communicating to the media, legislative bodies, or other fish producers.

    According to the author, aquaculture is often a misunderstood and underrepresented industry, even though there are many fish farms that have been in business for more than 100 years. “At the end of the day, those who are affected the most by these issues need to also be the spokespersons for their industry,” Engle says in the publication.

    Joe Morris, professor and extension aquaculture specialist at Iowa State University, said the publication helps leaders understand the “standard operating procedures” of good leadership and the formation of producer associations.

    “We’re trying to build up a community of aquaculture leaders – within each state and across the region,” said Morris, who is the director of NCRAC, which is located at Iowa State University.

    The publication encourages producers to form diverse leadership teams, with new and experienced fish farmers, “across various states, species, and production systems.” Good leaders must also listen and obtain feedback, according to the authors, and focus on key issues and initiatives that need to be resolved.

    The end goal is “stronger associations with capable leadership,” which leads to a stronger and more resilient U.S. aquaculture industry.

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