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Interagency Working Group for Farming Seaweeds and Seagrasses

Legislation Membership Partnership Stakeholder Projects Report Contacts


The Interagency Working Group for Farming Seaweeds and Seagrasses was authorized in the FY2019 Appropriations Bill, directing USDA to form and Chair a working group that would report on opportunities for farming seaweeds and seagrasses to deacidify ocean environments and provide agricultural products, such as livestock feeds. The Working Group has also supported demonstration products seeking to demonstrate capacity for ocean deacidification, produce livestock feeds or other products derived from seaweeds.

Authorizing Legislation

FY2019 Appropriations Bill SEC. 770. (a) The Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shall establish a working group (referred to in this section as the ‘‘working group’’)— (1) to study how mangroves, kelp forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows could help deacidify the oceans; (2) to study emerging ocean farming practices that use kelp and seagrass to deacidify the oceans while providing feedstock for agriculture and other commercial and industrial inputs; and (3) to coordinate and conduct research to develop and enhance pilot-scale research for farming of kelp and seagrass in order— (A) to deacidify ocean environments; (B) to produce a feedstock for agriculture; and (C) to develop other scalable commercial applications for kelp, seagrass, or products derived from kelp or seagrass.

(b) The working group shall include— (1) the Secretary of Agriculture; (2) the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; (3) representatives of any relevant offices within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and (4) the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (c) Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the working group shall submit to Congress a report that includes— (1) the findings of the research described in subsection (a); (2) the results of the pilot-scale research described in subsection (a)(3); and (3) any policy recommendations based on those findings and results.

FY2021 Appropriations Bill: USDA-NOAA Working Group Research for Farming of Kelp and Seagrass (GP 788). The bill provides $1 million to carry out the duties of the working group established under section 770 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019


The Interagency Working Group for Farming Seaweeds and Seagrasses has 46 members representing 8 Departments/Agencies from 25 Offices/Divisions.


The USDA has partnered with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to conduct and review research to help meet USDA obligations under the 2019 Fiscal Year Appropriations Bill.

Stakeholder Engagement

The Working Group Hosted 5 Stakeholder Listening Sessions from December 2021 to April 2024 to collect input on topics to be included in the report and priorities for demonstration projects. A December session was for Federal and Legislative participants, the remaining sessions sought regional participation from industry, academic and state/local/Tribal government communities.


# Attendees*

# Registered

Gulf of Mexico/South Atlantic



North Atlantic



Pacific Coast



US Islands






Demonstration Projects

In 2022 applications for demonstration projects were solicited, on September 1, 2022 six funded projects were initiated.

Project Name

Organization Name

Carbon Capture & Deacidification by Marine Seaweeds

Oregon State University

Use of seaweed to protect shellfish farming from ocean acidification

Marine Biological Laboratory

Evaluate the potential ocean acidification mitigation effects from sugar kelp growth in a Point Judith, RI kelp farm

University of Rhode Island

Leveraging the sustainability of Macrocystis pyrifera as a feedstock to produce ingredients for food, animal, and industrial applications

Regents of the University of California, Davis

Offshore Platform-based Macroalgae Production

Gulf of Offshore Research

Bull kelp farm improvements to enable scaling of innovative food products

Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation


The Interagency Working Group will post its Draft Report on January 3, 2023. The full report is expected to be completed by summer 2024.


Caird Rexroad, USDA ARS National Program Leader for Aquaculture

Nichole Price, Senior Research Scientist and Director, Bigelow Center for Seafood Solutions