Tennessee Farmers Cultivate Freshwater Shrimp

Knoxville — West Tennessee tobacco farmers are raising freshwater shrimp this summer, to supplement their incomes.

A University of Tennessee agriculture professor said the idea started in another tobacco-producing state.

“A few people in Kentucky started growing shrimp, and interest in it spilled over the state line,” said Dr. Thomas Hill, “so we have some people in Tennessee who are starting to grow it.”

“They haven’t grown that many yet, but this summer, they’ll find out if it can be successful,” Hill said.

Tennessee farmers experimented with raising emus, Hill said, but shrimp farming has a better chance of success, because of the existing infrastructure for shrimp.

“Shrimp also differs from emu because people already like shrimp, and they may not have ever tasted emu,” Hill said.

The Pickett County shrimp farmers hope to sell 50,000 pounds of freshwater shrimp this fall.