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Prairie AquaTech Converting Soy into High Protein Fish Feed

South Dakota-based Prairie AquaTech has developed a method of applying enzymes to soybean meal to make it higher in protein and an ideally digestible feed for the aquaculture industry.

The U.S. imports 80 percent of its seafood supply, mostly from Asia, and global seafood production will need to double over the next 20 to 30 years to meet demand. In response the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are pushing to increase domestic U.S. seafood output. Prairie AquaTech sees greater availability of cost-effective feed as a main driver in accomplishing this.

Launched in 2012, the company is aiming to become a prime supplier of fishmeal to the aquaculture industry through the conversion of soybean meal into a high protein pellet. The company is currently raising $40 million to construct a production plant in South Dakota with the capacity to produce 30,000 tons of pelleted soy-based fishmeal per year.

“If we’re able to grow our inputs into the aquaculture market, which is primarily feed and represents 50 to 75 percent of the cost of doing business in aquaculture, then there’s a great chance for us to turn the tables on our trade balance and become an exporter of seafood, instead of an importer,” Mark Luecke, CEO and managing director of the company told Prairie Business Magazine.

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