State Senator Tom O'Mara (R, C-Big Flats) toured Nuponix, a cutting-edge aquaponics facility in Romulus (Seneca County), to get a firsthand look at the company's ongoing efforts as part of New York State's Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program.

Nuponix operates its main 'aquaponics' facility in Romulus. Aquaponics is a production process combining the fields of aquaculture and hydroponics. Conventional aquaculture focuses on the raising of aquatic animals in water tanks, while hydroponics is the practice of cultivating plants in water rather than soil.

At its Romulus facility, Nuponix has the capacity to produce 1,000 pounds of hemp per month while raising tilapia fish at the same time. The company donates the fish to area communities in need and collaborates with Cornell University and other regional colleges to offer on-site educational opportunities for students.

O'Mara was one of the state Legislature's first supporters of expanding New York's industrial hemp industry. In 2014, O'Mara sponsored the initial state law (Chapter 524 of the Laws of 2014) authorizing the first industrial hemp pilot program in New York and sparking the industry's growth. As a result of the new law, the state launched initiatives beginning in 2015 as part of an ongoing, comprehensive effort to cultivate the industrial hemp industry in New York, encourage new economic development opportunities, and advance industrial hemp research in New York.

Beginning this year as a result of last year's legislative redistricting process, O'Mara's 58th Senate District now includes all of Seneca County in addition to the counties of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Yates, and a part of Allegany County.

O'Mara said, "I was proud to sponsor the first law and remain a strong supporter of efforts to initiate and strengthen New York State's position to begin capturing the economic, job-growth, and revenue-generating opportunities within the industrial hemp industry. Nuponix is a prime example of the possibilities that continue to exist within this industry. I appreciated this opportunity to get a firsthand look at the company's cutting-edge, community-based efforts and to hear what company leaders envision for the future."

Kevin Wright, a Principal of Nuponix, said, "I am proud of our team's ability to advance this technology and make a positive impact in the local community. Aquaponics is truly a game-changer in terms of when and where agriculture can happen. With our system, we can grow year-round and are able to support a circular economy by using the existing infrastructure. Aquaponics also has a strong ecological narrative as it optimizes water consumption, medium, and nutrients."

O'Mara was joined on the tour by Nuponix Principal Kevin Wright, General Manager Steeve Pomerleau, Construction/Permitting Manager Jon Berry, and Government Affairs Representative Jane McLaughlin.