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Fmr. Cattle Farmer Starts MN’s 1st Salt Water Shrimp Farm

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans will not have to go too far to get a taste of the ocean. In the middle of Wabasha County’s vast farmland, now sits Minnesota’s first salt water shrimp farm.

Chad Axley use to raise cattle, but he decided he wanted to do something no one else was doing.

So, he went to work, turning this pole barn into Northern Tide Farm, his very own business where he nurtures Pacific White shrimp for sale.

“We’re trying to simulate a natural environment,” Axley said.

Axley says the shrimp are raised in a zero-waste environment, free of chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones.

“The brown in the water is from your feed and your biofloc. The poop itself gets broken down by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that is part of the biofloc system” Axley said.

Axley says he researched how to raise shrimp for three years. It was that research that pushed him to raise his own.

“I like shrimp and if you look online on how shrimp are raised in mangroves and how they do it overseas and I just wanted something I could trust when I ate it. And somebody told me I couldn’t do it, so I had to prove them wrong,” Axley said.

Northern Tide gets its shrimp from Florida when they are 30 days old and they grow in these tanks for 120 days before they are sold. When sold, the shrimp are between 22 and 25 grams.

Axley hopes to eventually sell 120 pounds of shrimp a week. He says people love the taste.

“They are real sweet flavor. I didn’t even know shrimp had flavor other than cocktail sauce or butter,” Axley said.

Axley’s neighbors know when the shrimp are ready to be sold by the sign he puts up near his drive, but if you don’t live around Elgin, Northern Tide Farm’s website is your key to getting fresh salt water shrimp in the land of 10,000 lakes. Shrimp are sold to order.

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