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By Tawnya Sawyer

The USDA recently recognized aquaponics under their voluntary Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program through the Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) division. This program is in its pilot phase for audits and certification of selected aquaponics farms through the end of 2020. Having a set of guidelines for aquaponics helps to better align with the specifics of growing in soil-less media, using filtered fish waste for nutrient solution, and bio-integration of fish and plants in a growing facility.
Prior to this pilot program, aquaponic farm audits were subject to standard GAP guidelines designed for produce crops grown in a field or cultivated in a greenhouse. This created challenges for auditors trying to modify or interpret guidelines for other growing methods that don’t align or apply to aquaponics. By launching this pilot program, the USDA has indicated that aquaponics is viewed as a commercially viable industry worthy of its own audit guidelines and food safety certification. Find out more about the USDA’s Aquaponics GAP Pilot Program here.

 

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The Aquaponics Association is a nonprofit that connects growers and works to increase aquaponic production. Please consider a General Membership to support this cause.

Benefits of Membership include:

  • Regular newsletters
  • Access to Aquaponics Association Members Forum with chat groups and direct messages
  • Ability to participate in working groups to move aquaponics forward: 1) Commercial Aquaponics; 2) Community Aquaponics; 3) Aquaponics in STEM Education; and 4) Aquaponics Research
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  • Legislative & Regulatory Updates
  • Special Member Discounts

Membership fees also support:

  • Development and promotion of materials to educate the public about the benefits and opportunities of aquaponics!
  • Development of industry standards and best practices
  • Infrastructure to connect aquaponic growers from around the world
  • Strategic partnerships to expand aquaponics into new fields
  • Ability to speak with one voice to policy-makers and regulators on issues like Organic certification, food safety certification, and agriculture policy
  • Resources to improve aquaponic growers’ skills, growing capacity, and business opportunities
  • Resources to cultivate and develop aquaponics as an emerging green industry

Learn more: General Membership

 

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