The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Union High School Agriculture Department Receives Aquaculture Grant

The Union High School Agriculture Department was the recipient of a grant sponsored by the Illinois Fish Farmers Co-op (IFFC). Twelve high school districts throughout the state of Illinois were awarded the $3150 grant used to purchase aqauculture systems for the classroom.

Students in the agriculture education department are responsible for the feed and care of the fish as well as the day-to-day operation of the system. The school received a 500 gallon recirculating system which now houses more than 140 tilapia. More than eighty students will be involved in the project on some level, allowing each of them to learn that there is more to agriculture than may first meet the eye.

The IFFC was created in 1999 and has since given out more than $100,000 in grants to school districts.

The IFFC provides support to established, new and prospective fish producers. Their goal is to increase awareness within the agricultural community of the many opportunities available in the fisheries industry.

Illinois is the largest inland seafood consuming state and the second leading consuming state for farm-raised channel catfish. The majority of the fish consumed in Illinois is brought in from other states leaving opportunities for innovative producers. It is estimated that by the year 2040, nearly half of all the seafood consumed in the United States will be raised in an aquaculture system.

Anyone interested in receiving further information please contact Jody Heavner at Union High School at 309-627-2377.