Farmers from across NC attend 25th annual aquaculture conference
North Carolina native Richard Plummer said he's tired of not knowing what's in his food.
That's why he went to the North Carolina state Aquaculture Conference in New Bern, to learn how to grow his own fish and vegetables using aquaponics.
"With aquaponics you're actually eating something that is basically truly organic," Plummer said, "and it's something that doesn't have pesticides, doesn't have insecticides and it's grown by utilizing the fish."
Plummer lives in Cornelius, just north of Charlotte. He said the two day conference helped him learn what it takes to get started in aquaponics–the business of growing fish and vegetables in the same body of water.
"I've learned so much," Plummer said, "and basically what I've learned that has just been the best thing, is the fact that North Carolina–as far as the state–offers you so many resources."
But the conference wasn't just for people looking to get started in the business. Small farm owners also came to learn how to expand their aquaculture farms.
Tyler Nethers has been in the aquaculture business for about seven months.
He said he went to the conference because he wanted to network.
"I wanted to learn more," Nether said. "I took two short courses while I was here and there's a lot of information here.''
Conference speaker Mike Frinsko said aquaculture is a growing industry that's stimulating the economy by producing a high demand product.
"Most of the aquaculture production is like any other agriculture, it's out on the rural sectors," Frinsko said. "And so this is an opportunity for people that are outside of the cities in the metropolitan areas to engage in an industry, an innovative industry that can help economic development."
And that economic advantage is something Plummer is excited about when it comes to his new business venture.
"I just I really hope that it continues to move forward and that the state embraces it and also the general public will be able to realize what it can do for you and how great it really is," Plummer said.