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Missouri Family Swims Into Future of Fish Farming
Unless you caught them yourself, the fish you ate for dinner were probably imported from another country. Randy Constant saw the need for sustainable, locally grown fish, so he started a business called Quixotic (pronounced quicks-AH’-tic) Farming.
“When I first decided to raise tilapia, I was really excited to explore and help develop such a young industry,” says Constant. “The fact that it would allow my company to supply a safe protein source for the U.S. just added to the excitement.”
He set up an indoor tilapia fish farm in Colorado and in Chillicothe, Missouri, inside a former Walmart building.
Constant’s daughter, Claire, is the chief marketing officer. She says there are dozens of tanks, and each holds about 10,000 gallons of water and 4,000 pounds of tilapia. They’re run by a recirculating aquaculture system, which she says is the future of land-based aquaculture.
“We grow our fish in indoor above-ground tanks with recirculating systems on each tank and a filter attached to each tank. This is very beneficial for us because our water is constantly being filtered and recirculated,” she says. “So, we get to filter out the waste from our fish and use that on organic crops or vegetables, or we use it for fertilizer for other farmers.”
It takes nine months to raise the fish from fry to fillet.
“We have a great group of people who work in our facility to hand-feed four times a day,” she says. “They do a lot of visual testing, but they also do a lot of water-quality testing to make sure the pH is balanced, the ammonias are right, the nitrates and the nitrites are right. We don’t use any chemicals or antibiotics to treat our fish. If there’s a problem, we use salt.”
The demand for their fish is so high, the family is planning to partner with contract growers.
Constant is featured in Successful Farming magazine's "10 Successful Farmers" article running in the June issue.