Assessing the Viability of the Inland Shrimp Farming as a Viable Enterprise in Alabama
The most expensive inputs in the production of inland saltwater shrimp were feed, PLs, electricity, processing, and aeration. Major constraints reported were marketing, PL availability, and local infrastructure. Profitability seemed more likely for the small-scale (5-acre) enterprise when it was an alternative aquaculture enterprise versus a sole enterprise. The fifty-acre enterprise budget appeared to be lucrative as a sole enterprise, if the market is established. South Central Alabama seems to be a suitable place for culturing saltwater shrimp. However, there is still a lack of knowledge/experience in the region and lack of a well-established market for the farmers’ product.
The purpose of this study was to assess the viability of inland saltwater shrimp farming in South Central Alabama. Specific objectives were to (1) describe the production of farm-raised saltwater shrimp as an alternative agricultural enterprise, (2) identify the constraints and risks associated with the inland shrimp farming industry, and (3) compare the cost efficiencies of farms via scales of production.
All producers were contacted and interviewed and/or surveyed. All data has been collected and analyzed. The total cost to operate a five-acre inland saltwater shrimp farm fluctuates between $2,300 and $11,000 per acre. Initial enterprise budgets for inland shrimp farming were established for the 5- and 50- acre farm. Total costs per acre as generated in the five- and fifty-acre enterprise budgets were $22,842 and $14,929, for the five- and fifty-acre systems, respectively. A break-even analysis was done for the 5- and 50- acre farms. Small scale producers (5 acres) and larger producers (50 acres) would have to get $8.72 and $5.70 per pound, respectively, in order to break even. A report is currently being compiled and will be sent to each producer. Feedback will be requested on the enterprise budget.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
A case profile on each farm that was included in this study was compiled. Each case profile covers background information about the farmer, farm operations, production information (acclimation, stocking, grow-out and harvesting), economics, challenges, constraints, risks, and sustainability, etc. The collection of profiles will help to compare farming practices of each producer. The results reveal that there is a great disparity in areas such as feeding practices, pond management, harvesting, cost per acre, and marketing practices. The farm profiles and development of an enterprise budget that focuses on producers in South Central Alabama has helped to identify constraints and an analysis of the costs of inland saltwater shrimp farming in the region of study. Consequently, best management practices can be recommended to each producer.
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