News from the Southwest Virginia Aquaculture Research and Extension Center
Farm Business Management Update, October 2001
By Dan Kauffman
Virginia Tech and Southern States Cooperative Inc. officials have reached an agreement to jointly operate the new Southwest Virginia Aquaculture Research and Extension Center. Virginia Tech will be in charge of the facility. In an October 1 meeting, chaired by Gerald Jubb, Associate Director, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, representatives from both institutions agreed on a plan to find out if Southwestern Virginia farmers can profitably produce yellow perch. Southern States has commercial Tilapia programs in North Carolina and Georgia as well as some catfish production.
Virginia Tech will cover many of the operational costs of the building; Southern States will provide the feed and the fingerlings for the facility. Todd Wenzel, a new Virginia Tech employee, will be the facility superintendent. He has a master's degree from N.C. State in Zoology with an aquaculture emphasis. Keith Tompkins, a Southern States employee, was formerly the hatchery manager for Southern States' Tilapia program. Thompkins has a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Virginia Tech.
The first group of yellow perch will go in the tanks shortly. Yellow perch are a highly esteemed, high value food fish in the Great Lakes. They are a colder water species than Tilapia, which is one of the most widely aquacultured species in the world.
Full production runs will not begin until next spring. However, as soon as production data are acquired on this initial run of fish, a tour/field day for agents will be offered. Tours of the facility will also be offered as part of Virginia Tech's International Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture Conference next July.
For more information contact: Dan Kauffman by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: (757) 727-4861 or Charlie Coale by e-mail at: email@example.com or by phone at: (540) 231-5562.
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