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December 7, 2015

United States

Indiana—RDM Aquaculture


In early June 2015, Karlanea Brown co-owner RDM Aquaculture, a small indoor shrimp farm that helps other farmers get started in shrimp farming, said, for those small-scale shrimp farmers who can stay in business past the first year, “the potential income is pretty good.  We forewarn everybody that the first year is the hardest because the (shrimp) survival rate is not very good.  After that, the survival rates start going up.”


Brown sells her shrimp to “anyone who walks in the front door.  They come from all over—Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Kansas.  They come here and pick them up.  We sell them live out the door.  We get a lot of white tablecloth hotels and restaurants wanting to buy them.  But we have oversold in the past.  I’ve had to shut my doors twice.  If we do it a third time, we’ll be out of business on the retail end.”


“I had to train my husband,” Brown said.  “The mentality of a lot of farmers is the more you feed the hogs and cows the faster they grow.  Shrimp don’t keep eating like a hog or chicken.  When they’re done eating, they drop the feed.  The feed can damage the water quality and the shrimp won’t survive.”


Three Indiana shrimp farms have failed, Brown said.  One expanded too quickly, and the heater went out at another.  The water temperature needs to be kept at 80 to 85 degrees.  The biggest obstacle to success is establishing the bacteria.  “Once it’s established, the survival rates start going up,” Brown said.


While Indiana’s aquaculture industry is small and can’t compete with low-priced imported and processed seafood products, the state has a comparative advantage with live shrimp that can be sold fresh to ethnic markets at a premium.  The majority of live-shrimp-market customers in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio are Asians, some of whom were raised in families that bought live seafood.


Information: Karlanea Brown, RDM Aquaculture, LLC, 101 North 850 East, Fowler, Indiana 47944, USA (phone: 1-765-583-0052, email, webpage


Source: The Star Press.  Seth Slabaugh (email, phone 1-765-213-5834).  Delaware County Raising Shrimp.  June 5, 2015.

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