Extension helps expand market for freshwater shrimp
By Zeke Barlow
As the freshwater shrimp in his ponds continued to grow and multiply, Charles Carter knew he had a good product to sell.
In his second year of production, Carter wanted to create product buzz to sell a portion of his production to local consumers. Carter, whose family has owned the Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, for 11 generations, knew just where to look for assistance — Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Enter Dan Kauffman, Extension seafood marketing specialist at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hampton.
Kauffman has been working for about four years on helping freshwater shrimp producers get their products to market, which also involved one of his other passions — shrimp boils.
Kauffman, along with community viability specialist Martha Walker, helped Carter put on a shrimp boil, which greatly helped him market his product and introduced him to new clients.
Though freshwater shrimp are common in states south of Virginia, they have only started to take off in the commonwealth in recent years. Raising freshwater shrimp can add diversity to a producer’s portfolio and generate extra income.
“There is already a robust marine shrimp market, but people don’t often know about freshwater prawns,” said Kauffman, who is in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. “There is definitely room to grow this market, but you need to market your product well, and that’s where we can help lend a hand.”