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December 14, 2012

Cargill and Safeway and Bowers Shrimp

A Potential Huge Boost to Shrimp Farming in the United States





Bowers Shrimp & Fish is the largest shrimp farm in the United States.  Owned and operated by Harold and Cheryl Bowers since 1989, it farms shrimp in Texas and Belize (Central America).  The Bowers’ son, Reed, runs the farm in Texas, producing more than one million pounds of Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) annually—all packaged in boxes bearing the stars and stripes and the legend: “Responsibly farm raised in the USA.”


Cargill, a multinational corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA, was founded in 1865.  It is now the largest privately held corporation in the United States.  Some of Cargill’s major businesses are trading, purchasing and distributing grain and other agricultural commodities; trading in energy, steel and transport; and producing food ingredients, vegetable oils and fats.  Cargill also produces two products for the international shrimp farming industry: LiquaLife®, liquid feeds for larval and postlarval shrimp; and AQUAXCEL®, shrimp growout feeds.


Safeway is a chain of 1,800 supermarkets in the USA.


Recently a team of specialists from Cargill and Safeway visited Bowers Shrimp to discuss the possibility of a contract to supply Safeway stores in Texas with fresh shrimp.


Brian Wiles, commodities manager of seafood at Safeway, said, “Safeway is looking to consolidate its suppliers and develop partnerships around sustainability and quality....” Phil Gibson, a marketing specialist and group director of seafood at Safeway, said, “This is a program we can tell a story about and you can build a business on.  We have a very strong interest in having a partner company we can tell a story about—something to really promote the USA aquaculture industry.”  He thinks that story should be about fresh, sweet, USA, farm-raised shrimp with consistent top quality.


“I think it’s a great idea,” said Mike Hooper, business manager for Bowers.  “It’s very rare to find fresh, never-frozen shrimp.  Products that are called ‘fresh shrimp’ are almost always thawed.”  Our shrimp “is grown in the Texas coastal waters of Matagorda Bay.  The ponds are discharged to a slough [a swampy area of slow moving water, pronounced slu or slau] so the waters are filtered further before going back to the Bay.  I think it’s a very green product.”


David Hines, business development manager for Cargill-USA Aqua in Franklinton, Louisiana, said, “....We don’t just want to market it as fresh.  We want to build a story around it being traceable and sustainable.”  Hines already has a connection to the Bowers’ shrimp farm.  He helped Cargill arrange a major purchase of Bowers’ shrimp for Carnival Cruise Lines, and Bowers also uses Cargill’s shrimp and fish feeds.


Information: Bowers Shrimp & Fish, 24781 SH 35 South, Palacios, Texas 77465, USA (phone 1-361-972-2414, fax 1-361-972-2422, email bowers@bowershrimp.com, webpage http://bowershrimp.com).  Director of Sales and Marketing, Paula Bowers-Sharp (paula@bowershrimp.com).


Sources: 1. Cargill News.  A Fish Story.  Paul Dienhart, Page 15.  November/December 2012.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, December 14, 2012.




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