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Hamilton County Nelson Fish Farms Wins Iowa Farm Bureau 'Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award'

Indoor Fish Farm Celebrated for Innovation, Paving Road for Iowa Aquaculture   
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) says Iowa farmers are always looking for new opportunities, and aquaculture could be the next sector primed for growth.  Jeff and Mark Nelson, cousins from Blairsburg, are trailblazers in Iowa aquaculture.  The cousins successfully converted a former hog house into an indoor fish farm raising thousands of fish.  In recognition of their innovation and contributions, they are this month’s Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award winner.                

In a part of the state known for swine, corn and bean production, you can now add barramundi, a popular Australian fish, to the list.  Three years ago, the Nelson cousins first learned about aquaculture from a feed system vendor, who was exhibiting at the Iowa Pork Congress.  It wasn’t long after that conversation that the Nelsons starting traveling the country looking at other aquaculture operations, developing plans for what has become Nelson Fish Farms.            

Today, the cousins raise a few different types of fish indoors and are always looking at new opportunities.  Nelson Fish Farms generated excitement announcing they will add shrimp to the opperation as well.  “Iowa aquaculture has definitely peaked a lot of interest,” said IFBF Bioeconomy Manager Denny Harding.  “I know of a few younger farmers looking at this type of opportunity, and we see real potential for the industry to grow.”           

The community is also excited about the Nelsons’ potential and are excited to see what’s next for the cousins and aquaculture in Iowa.  “This is a great family business,” said Hamilton County Farm Bureau leader Randy Greufe.  “There are two cousins working together, and the son is here helping, too.  After talking to them, you get very excited; there is a lot of potential.”            

Registration is open for two business educational opportunities at www.renewruraliowa.com.    The November 6, Business Success Seminar is offered at Farm Bureau auditorium in West Des Moines. The November 20th “Journey to Your Vision” seminar is a new seminar being held in Manchester.  The details and registration information for both are available at www.renewruraliowa.com.