Alva Review-Courier -

Resident wants to start shrimp farm in Freedom

 

April 15, 2018

Jeff Brown of Freedom

Thirty-year Freedom resident Jeff Brown has spent most of his working-life driving big trucks. At one time, he and his wife owned four trucks and had several hired drivers.

Recently, a friend in Goltry pointed Brown to an opportunity for a unique business for Oklahoma: shrimp farming. After traveling to Purdue University in Indiana, and spending $12,000 for a consultant to study the potential in Oklahoma, Brown has decided to make a go of it. Purdue has

a strong "aquaculture" course of study and their extension agents are providing information on how to produce such ag products.

Friday night, at a special Freedom Town Trustee meeting, Jeff Brown was listed on the agenda, along with his brother, Johnny Brown (who passed away last week), to ask for a zoning change. He asked that an area currently zoned as multi-family dwelling be changed to commercial. Freedom streets Wagonwheel Lane and Eagle Pass intersect at the edge of the proposed rezoning.

The vacant area he is looking at totals 36,000 sq. ft. at the south edge of town near the Freedom lift station. Brown would like to put up a 6,000 sq. ft. pole barn to house shrimp-raising tanks. He said there is no odor or other nuisance problem like there might be with livestock or poultry. The water in the tanks can continuously be reused if a proper balance of waste eating heterotrophic bacteria and water balance is maintained.

The Freedom Town Board of Rolando Galindo, Terry Smith, and Shad Brackin were encouraging to Brown and said they would contact the town's attorney about the rezoning proposal. Freedom currently has an ordinance that prohibits livestock within the city limits. The livestock ordinance names and prohibits many farm animals within the city limits but does not mention shrimp.

The shrimp Brown would raise are salt-water shrimp. He said there is no chance of marketing to large food-vendors such as Wal-Mart because China has that sector of the business tied up. However, the Purdue University study suggests that there are many opportunities for "farm to fork" sales.

The selling price for shrimp is about $18 per pound. The Purdue study indicates under optimum condition, there is a 30% mortality of the young shrimp. Brown said those can be sold for about $4 per pound as bait.

He said if the zoning change is approved, he hopes to complete the financing package and be in production after three months. He has a financial consultant working with him for notes on the financing.

 

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