Cardinal Farms breaks ground on fish farm - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Cardinal Farms breaks ground on fish farm

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Cardinal Farms hopes to be selling fish by late winter. Cardinal Farms hopes to be selling fish by late winter.

You've probably never seen a groundbreaking for a fish farm in Nebraska.

"It's kind of an exciting thing to think about, raising local fish and being able to sell it to the local markets," said Lance Hedquist, city administrator for South Sioux City.

Right now, Cardinal Farms primarily focuses on produce like cucumbers and tomatoes, but come next winter, they hope to have this ground transformed into an enclosed fish farm operation.

"While it's going to be outdoors, it's going to be almost a greenhouse type of atmosphere," said Hedquist.

The operation will have twelve 10,000 gallon tanks, with the goal to raise up to 170,000 pounds of fish each year. About a year ago, South Sioux City wanted to start a mass project with fish, algae and a new sewer system, but Cardinal Farms CEO Doug Garwood took the first step forward, as the other two parties continue to do research.

"Clearly, he's done his own homework and he knows the project can stand alone, by itself. It's only going to be enhanced by changes, as others become involved," said Hedquist.

"When they are ready to roll that out to a commercial project, the South Sioux City area will be at the front of the list," said Garwood.

South Sioux City leaders say the delay could actually make the project a little bit better. They've already changed from tilapia to a hybrid striped bass.

"These fish spend their whole life swimming against a current, exercising. So, what you get is a very firm, clean, clean-tasting, fresh fish," said Garwood.

And, as the dirt gets turned, Garwood says the fish farm will only make the produce better.

"We'll be capturing the exhaust from the fish building and introducing it to the tomatoes, which will save on heating costs and enhance the production of the tomatoes," said Garwood.

If all goes well, Garwood hopes to double the size of his operation after the first year. He says the expansion could potentially include raising shrimp.

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