Kentucky State University students, researchers bring shrimp from the blue sea to the bluegrass
Local students are bringing what usually happens in the deep blue sea to the bluegrass.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) - Inside the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Production building, several tanks are filled with fish.
One of them holds nearly 8,000 shrimp.
“These are shrimp we have grown here in Kentucky,” Research Assistant Leo Fleckenstein said. “These guys look healthy. Their color is good, and they have a nice, long antenna. I can see their guts are full, so they have been eating very well.”
Researchers at KSU are changing the perception of inland agriculture and laying the groundwork for farmers of the future.
“We are trying to ask the question of ‘Can a farmer come in and build a real simple tank like this, put water, salt and shrimp in here, grow the shrimp and make a profit?'” KSU aquaculture assistant professor Andrew Ray said. “We are finding out that people are willing to pay a good price for this product."
They're finding not only is it possible, but it can be inexpensive to quickly raise a few thousand shrimp in a controlled, sustainable environment. They then sell them and make about $12 per pound.
“It takes about 90 days for us to grow our shrimp in our grow-out period,” Ray said. “This is one of four greenhouses that we have here in our high tunnel complex, and we produce 1,200 pounds of shrimp here this year.”
The KSU division of Aquaculture can grow the shrimp all year round and get about three crops each year. They feed them a plant-based diet and sell them at local farmers markets.
“Chefs love it, farmers markets love it, groceries love it," Research Associate Tom Tierney said. "So it's good for us for research, and it's good for the people here in the Commonwealth."
They’re expanding options for Kentucky farmers and expanding your Kentucky Proud menu.
You can keep an eye out for the KSU division of Aquaculture at farmers markets in the Highlands and St. Matthews. For a farmers market schedule, click here.
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.