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Can hemp be used as fish feed?

Central State University researchers are aiming to create more opportunities in hemp and aquaculture with a recently funded project. An Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will support the project which seeks to get hemp grain approved as a feed ingredient for fish feed, expand markets for hemp and trout, and increase diversity in agriculture. 

“I have been thinking about this project since the day I arrived at Central State University, in 2019,” said Brandy Phipps, research assistant professor in food, nutrition, and health, and a lead for the project.

One of the main research goals is to do studies that will allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Association of American Feed Control Officials to decide whether hemp grain is a suitable feed for fish or not.

Schluttenhofer is also interested in the project because of how it could open up markets for hemp. “The vast majority of stuff being grown in the U.S. is for the metabolites,” Schluttenhofer said, but there is a limited amount of demand for those, and now, he thinks, there is plenty of hemp being grown to fill that part of the market. If hemp grain is a viable ingredient for fish feed — both from a health standpoint and economically — that opens up opportunities for hemp grain markets. “We know that there has been a lot of interest in the hemp sector to diversify the market,” Phipps said. “There hasn’t been as much production in the fiber and in the grain sector in this country.”

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