WISCONSIN AQUACULTURE ASSOCIATION
(a private non-profit corporation)
HISTORY OF WAA
WAA began with a small group of trout farmers who gathered together to share their experiences and discuss issues with each other. In 1961 they decided it was time to become official and on Oct 5, 1961 the Associated Trout Growers of Wisconsin, Inc. was incorporated.
The initial directors were Max Scott (Star Prairie), William J. Smith (Janesville), Ben Winton (Adell), Fritz Gaulitta (Butternut), Eugene Frank (Elkhorn), Ernest Pietch (Waldo), David M. Levy (Eagle), Kenneth Berglin (Palymra), and John W. Christensen, an attorney from Park Ridge, IL.
In 1968 Gilbert Diehl was the director/president and Thomas E. Langenfeld was the secretary/treasurer.
The Association listed its Object as:
•Promoting the trout industry in the State of Wisconsin,
•Increasing the public’s awareness of the real and aesthetic pleasures involved with the rearing, stocking, fishing and eating of all species of trout,
•Disseminate the latest information on trout farming and trout hatchery management to all interested members,
•To provide a forum for discussing mutual problems and topics of interest concerning trout rearing, marketing, and fishing,
•To protect and advance out interests at the State Legislature and, through national organizations, at the Congress of the United States
•To develop working agreements with federal and state fish and wildlife services for mutual benefit
•To meet periodically with fellow trout growers and hobbyists to socialize and participate together in the best traditions of cooperative action
In 1977 the members discussed changing the association’s name and on March 30, 1978, the name was officially recorded as Wisconsin Trout Growers, Inc. At that time David M. Levy was president and Hugo Kettula was secretary and the organization was listed as having 41 voting members, of which 37 voted for the name change.
With interest in aquaculture growing and it’s membership now including farmers with other species, the members voted on October 31, 1992 for name change to Wisconsin Aquaculture Association, Inc. The association had 44 voting members, Delbert Miller was president, and Ruby Kettula was Secretary.
WHAT WE DO
In 1995 the Wisconsin Trout Growers held their first Aquaculture Conference at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point. Since then there have been 16 annual conferences (the only year missed was in 2007). The conferences are held every year in March and are moved around the state iin order to give farmers the opportunity to have the conference near them.
WAA worked closely with the University of Wisconsin-Ext Aquaculture Specialists, who were hired in 2007. Over the past years, with the help of the Aquaculture Specialists, WAA has expanded its involvement in farmer training and presence within Wisconsin by participating in many events, including Beginning Aquaculture workshops, and farmer oriented workshops such as Pond Fertilization, Yellow Perch Culture, RAS Culture, Feed Training, Rules, to name a few. In 2015, funding was cut for these positions (as well as other state extension positions). WAA has also promoted Wisconsin aquaculture by attending events including Farm Tech Days, the Legislative Brunch, the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Educators Conference, and others.
In 2008 the statewide Fish Farm Open House Day was started up and on April 26, 2010 the wisconsin Senate and Assembly passed a resolution declaring the 3rd Saturday in July as Aquaculture Day. This was the first such resolution passed in the United States. This resolution acknowledges aquaculture as an important agricultural industry in Wisconsin and having a sound environmental history using sustainable best management practices. Aquaculture Day encourages people to visit a local fish farm and learn firsthand about aquaculture, and to become more aware of the role commercial aquaculture plays in the state’s economy, local communities, recreational opportunities and in providing a safe healthy food.
The Wisconsin Aquaculture Association is the voice of aquaculture in the state. Legislators and state officials look to WAA for input on legislation and regulations and often seek opinions from the Board regarding new research, marketing and financing programs designed to assist the expansion of aquaculture in the state. WAA is a member of the National Aquaculture Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association.
WAA holds 4 board meetings each year and sponsors the annual Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference in March and Aquaculture Day in July. Each member receives the WAA newsletter, The Creel, 4 times a year, inclusion on a members only list serv, and is listed on the online members directory. Active level members can vote, serve on the board of directors and also have a more extensive listing in the on line directory.