Aquaculture Conversion Model Emphasizing Poultry and Hog Facilities Re-Use and Recycled On-Farm Resources
As vertical integration increasingly dominates the poultry and hog industries, more farmers undertake huge debt to erect single-use livestock confinement barns in order to contract for poultry or hog production. They often mortgage home and land to meet the integrator’s demand for state- of-the-art facilities in order to secure a contract. Then for a number of reasons, often beyond their control, growers find themselves with empty single-use buildings.
This grower sought to develop a viable alternative use for livestock concentration facilities. Using empty hog barns, he attempted to demonstrate a strategy for indoor production of farm-raised fish. He used tanks made from common “found materials” and affordable supplies readily available to the farmer.
He constructed two fish tanks which were housed in climate controlled buildings formerly used for hog production. He made one tank from a four-foot tall section of a disassembled eighteen-foot diameter galvanized grain bin and a swimming pool liner. Fish were produced in a closed recirculating aquaculture system. The system captured fish manure by filtration and held it in a sand-bed tank.
The second commercial fish tank was also constructed from a disassembled galvanized grain bin and a swimming pool liner. It was located in the same building as the first tank. The second tank utilized a semi-closed system recirculating the water through underground piping to a pond on the farm. The producer raised tilapia in the tanks and experimented with trout during the cooler months.
The producer met his project goals and attracted the attention of aquaculture specialists in Virginia and North Carolina. However, due to permitting problems with the ponds, the project has yet to become operational.