Shrimp farm ready to expand in rural Minnesota

Updated: January 07, 2020 07:50 PM

The former calf barn on the once working Damhof dairy farm has been transformed into a 17-tank shrimp barn with a permanent tropical temperature of 86 degrees. Inside the salt water tanks are thousands of Pacific white shrimp.

Their recycled water is checked twice a day, the tan color is from good bacteria introduced to mimic the ocean.  Automatic feeders drop pellets of food into the shrimp tanks every 20 minutes. The shrimp will go from about the size of an eyelash at arrival, to large shrimp within 3 to 4 months.

And, as a sold-out sign reveals, the community is buying them up at $20 per pound, just as quickly as they can be grown to size.

"We’ve been approached by wholesalers, grocery store chains, wineries, vineyards, casinos, anybody that sells food has approached us," said owner Paul Damhof. 

It's why Damhof is looking to expand his Simply Shrimp operation, harvesting fresh, never frozen, saltwater shrimp in Minnesota.

"It’s going to be a totally new concept, a totally new idea, people in 13 different states are helping us out on this project," he shared.

Damhof won't discuss publicly how large the expansion will be, only saying it will be significant.

On Tuesday, Minnesota's Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen got a tour.

"(The past year) was one of the toughest years we’ve had, so it’s exciting to see different businesses that are happening in Minnesota," Petersen said.

"It’s very exciting to see a product like this in rural Minnesota," he added.

Damhof said it's an expansion that's been a couple years in the making. He's now ready, and believes Minnesotans are too.

"We’ve been able to learn through trial and error, and that’s why we’re ready to take this next step and to move forward," he said.

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Jessica Miles

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