2016 USTFA Conference a Success!!!

The US Trout Farmers Association enjoyed a great success at its Fall Annual Meeting at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The consensus opinion is that President Charlie Conklin arranged a well-received program of policy makers and hands-on practical information for trout farmers in attendance.

Numerous members cited that this reminded them of the USTFA meetings of earlier years which focused on bringing together the correct people in the proper forum to establish relationships and learn practical information.

Highlights included:

The focus sessions on hatchery management, aeration, proper feed utilization, and on farm practical ideas brought together state agencies, university researchers, suppliers and farmers including Brian Wisner and Brian Niewinski of the PA Fish and Boat Commission, Dr. Jeff Hinshaw of NC State University, Gary Fornshell of the University of Idaho, Jackie Zimmerman of Skretting and Adam Pritts of Laurel Hill Trout Farm.

Further information on the economic impacts of sport fishing clubs was explained by Dr. Carole Engle. The specific needs of the Fishing Club sector of trout growers was clearly explained by Mat McConnel , President of the Lehigh River Stocking Association.

Innovations in trout genetics at Trout Lodge was presented by Sean Nepper and Dr. Caird Rexroad, explained the ongoing projects and focus of USDA related to aquaculture research.

Dr. Carole Engle explained to the audience how her research into the economic impact of regulation on various sectors of aquaculture provides a reliable data set to explain this cost of doing business. She has already completed the work on several species. The USTFA is committed with several other organizations and APHIS to provide adequate funding to get an understanding of this nationwide. This project will begin shortly.

Paul Zajicek, of the National Aquaculture Association, explained how the USTFA’s membership helped unite with all sectors of United States Aquaculture. He told of the educational efforts and publications of NAA and the lobbying effort made possible by the membership dues of USTFA and other species and state organizations.

Dr. Tim Kniffen of Merck Animal Health Inc. identified VFD as the sleeper issue facing farmers. This quickly became the item of discussion resulting in the creation of a panel from the aquatic animal health industry to answer questions and clarify the new procedures.

NAA’s Linda Odearno, gave the attendees an example of the presentations on aquaculture, seafood and the “Amazing Health Benefits Derived From Eating Fish”.

Kathleen Hartman of USDA APHIS brought the audience up to date on the CAHPS program focusing on the need for clarity and simplicity in regulation in health requirements for the interstate shipment of live fish.

On Thursday September 8, the Fall Annual Meeting the membership adopted new Bylaws and elected a new Board of Directors as follows:

  • Three members for a one-year term, to include; Peter Fritsch, David Brock and Charlie Conklin
  • Three members for a two-year term to include; Jackie Zimmerman, Jeremy Liley, Johnathan Blakey
  • Two members for a three-year term to include; Brent Hinners, Katie Harris

Following the initial terms, Directors will be elected for three year terms.

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