Raising shrimp in beef country

Pure Nebraska
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 12:11 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 1:52 PM CDT
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IMPERIAL, Neb. (KOLN) - After reading an article about shrimp farming, a 6th generation farmer and rancher from southwest Nebraska decided to diversify.

We caught up with Grant Jones to talk about his shrimp operation called Chundy Aquaculture. The business is located north of Haigler, and southwest of Imperial. “I wanted to move back to the family farm in 2014,” Jones said. “I decided to diversify, and that’s where the shrimp came into being. We first looked at chickens, but I could never get myself to do chickens. So, I went with shrimp. In 2017, I read an article about how old hog barns were being transformed into aquaculture facilities. Three years later in 2020, I got my first batch of “PL’s” or “post larvae”, and from there the rest was history. It’s been three years on April 1 that I started this.”

Jones grew up on a ranch raising cattle, and then went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a major in animal science. “I definitely had to do some more re-learning,” Jones said. “I actually use a little of my animal science background on the shrimp, there are some things that can be applied back and forth. But, basically, I get the shrimp in, and they are 12 days old. They are called a “PL-12″. From there, they spend about 30 days in the nursery stage. Once they get above a gram or gram-and-a-half, that’s when I start moving them through the tanks we have. From there, it’s about another 90 days until they are about the size of my hand.”

Something you may notice when visiting Chundy Aquaculture is there are several swimming pools in the building. “I got them from Wal-Mart,” Jones said. “It’s a pretty basic set-up there, but it’s also high science. You’ll notice the golden brown water in the pools. We are trying to develop an ecosystem that helps the shrimp thrive and survive. Every living thing excretes waste, and so we are just managing that waste in a biological way instead of a mechanical filter. It means it’s a little more friendly to the environment. If we did it mechanically, we would strip all of the water of nutrients and oxygen, and then we would have to add it back. This is just more of the natural way to do it. It takes a little more thought, and you have to stay focused on it, but it’s really better for the environment.”

The name “Chundy” is connected to the counties where the business is located. “It’s Chase and Dundy put together,” Jones said. “We have Chundy Land and Cattle, which is our angus cattle operation, and our farm. So Chundy Aquaculture is our seafood part of the operation.” If you would like to learn more about what Grant Jones is doing, or how you could try some shrimp, you can give him a call at (308) 883-0565.