Growing Soybeans for Shrimp in Central America


Seafood is big business around the world, and Indiana soybean producers are trying to capitalize by investing in new aquaculture strategies.

On a recent trip to Panama, Indiana Soybean Alliance Treasurer and Northeast Indiana farmer Carey McKibben learned more about investments they’ve been making in Central American aquaculture, one of the leaders worldwide in tilapia and shrimp production.

“Aquaculture in this region has exploded. And part of the reason is we’ve helped fund some of the research in getting the species able to digest more soybean into their diet. So, it’s able to process soybeans better and also be more efficient in growing tilapia and shrimp.”

What is the growth potential for soybean producers in aquaculture?

“They’re projecting within the next few years a 12% growth,” says McKibben. “I mean, that’s huge. Especially with the amount they already have. Central America already produces the most shrimp in the world.”

McKibben says the Indiana Soybean Alliance investments are helping move the pile, as they like to say, but they’re also improving sustainability.

“Not only have we helped on the diet side, we’ve also helped implement the race system to where the fish are basically in raceways in ponds and feed gets recirculated, the waste gets recirculated. It’s better for the ponds themselves, and also, the fish are able to be handled more easily. It’s a more efficient way to produce tilapia.”

You can learn more about soybean use in aquaculture in the video below from the U.S. Soy Export Council.