Aquaculture dates back thousands of years ago and is now a rapidly expanding business practice in the United States. Operating a catfish farm, for example, requires a precise and well-executed business plan. Farm operators must raise large amounts of capital to even begin a small fish-farming practice. There are, however, many benefits to fish farming over cattle or chicken farming, and savvy business considerations can help you how to profit in the world of farming catfish.
Invest in a large farm. Large farms, on one hand, demand more acreage, thus costing more money. A farm costing $4,000 per acre multiplied by 90 acres equals $360,000 in the initial investment of the pond property alone. Building a large farm, however, allows you to sell more fish at one time — substantially increasing profit margins over smaller farms. Larger farms can export more easily to international markets — such as Asia — where fish is widely consumed.
Design your farm in a location with moderate temperatures and geography. Climates with excessive rain or snow can damage fish farming with flooding or freezing water. Choosing a geographical location away from areas where fault lines, tornadoes or hurricanes can result in annual natural disasters is also wise for the preservation of your farm.
Apply for the Aquaculture Grant Program to acquire subsidies for investment in catfish feed. Contact the United States Department of Agriculture to obtain application information. Submit forms and documentation in a timely manner. Farming catfish requires much less feed than cattle or chicken, but the AGP subsidy program reduces the cost of feed even more.
Sell your fish in direct sales. Selling catfish direct to market eliminates the costs of unnecessary business entities raising the cost and taking a cut of the profits before the product reaches the consumer. Direct sales to a processing factory — which then sells directly to the public — reduce the need for dealing with grocery store chains or other costly business outlets. Using direct sales is a way to keep consumer prices down, maintain the freshness in fish and sell more of the product at one time.
Contact your state government departments of agriculture and commerce to inquire about aquaculture and/or catfish farm assistance programs. In 2007, the state of Mississippi, for example, provided grant assistance to fish farmers who lost property during a previous hurricane. Fill out any and all grant forms and documentation completely and return it to state officials in a timely manner.
- catfish image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com