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story.lead_photo.caption Petra Andrei, right, pulls apart a crayfish as Emma Haenchen watches on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 in Jefferson City, Mo. The two are taking classes in agriculture and aquaculture at Lincoln University. (Ethan Weston/News Tribune photo)

Not all agriculture is tied to the land.

Students in Lincoln University's agriculture department recognize the fertile harvest that can come from water.

The LU agriculture department hosted its first aquaculture career exploration event Wednesday to open up this new world of farming to its students.

"We did an Ag Literacy Day event for all of the incoming freshman in August, and there were many, many of them that wanted more time," said Amy Bax, an LU Extension associate.

So, a series of career exploration events is germinating due to the students' interest.

The aquaculture career exploration event, which was held at the George Washington Carver Research Farm, is the first of the series. The department plans to host at least two other career exploration events, one for animal science and one for plant and soil science.

According to Bax, many Lincoln agriculture students have no previous experience in agriculture.

"They come because they like their pets, their animals at home, and all they think of as a career is 'something with my pets,'" Bax said. "This is to show them more of what's out there."

Those attending the aquaculture event Wednesday enjoyed a crawfish boil.

Dr. James Wetzel, an associate professor of animal science, showed students how to prepare the crawfish boil as well as how to prepare different kinds of crawfish.

In addition to showing students how to prepare crawfish, Wetzel showed students how to identity different crawdads, as well as how to process outdated trout.

The event also aimed to help students understand why they are taking chemistry and provide a connection between coursework and careers.

"The kids can't always translate, 'Okay, chemistry sucks, why am I taking chemistry?' And there's a purpose," Bax said. "Chemistry is very important to aquaculture to make sure that the water is clean and healthy for aquatic life.

"The hands-on activities will give the students the connection between coursework and careers," she said.

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