Iowa Aquaculture is Catching On
on Monday, December 22, 2014
Agriculture is the foundation that feeds, funds, and fuels Iowa's economy. Diversification has played a key role in keeping Iowa's agricultural industry strong. What is Iowa's next big thing? Many think it is aquaculture, or the rearing of fish to supplement the natural market.
A large spotlight was recently focused on Iowa's potential in this industry when VeroBlue Farms held an open house in Webster City that drew up to 1,300 people who wanted to learn more about opportunities to participate in this industry. Their plans include turning two large buildings in Webster City into the nation's largest indoor fish farm, seafood processing and packaging plant, and a research and training facility. One of the retrofitted buildings is expected to accommodate 216 10,000-gallon tanks and equipment. In addition, they are actively seeking contract growers to set up operations in buildings that can provide the right environment to raise fish. VeroBlue plans to grow, process, and sell 8-9 million pounds of Barramundi sea bass annually to start.
VeroBlue recently partnered with Iowa's First, an aquaculture operation near Blairsburg, and purchased its brand. Eventually the Blairsburg facility will be converted into a nursery, which will supply fingerlings to their urban farm and production partners.
Webster City Municipal Utilities will provide power to the VeroBlue facilities.