Economic Developers, like fisherman, dream of landing a big one and today officials in northeast Nebraska announced that they have done so. This morning, state and local economic development, Chamber, and business professionals gathered to reveal that Cardinal Farms Aquaculture has chosen South Sioux City as the home of their $1 million fresh fish production facility.
Founded as a family farm in 1868, a partnership between Horace “Buttons” Graham and Douglas Garwood was begun in 1975 as G & G Farms. Garwood Enterprises, Inc. was established in 1999 by Doug and Scott Garwood. For the past ten years, the company has experienced steady growth to 5 full-time and 5 part-time employees with its main operations located in Dakota City. Cardinal Farms’ greenhouse produces and sells locally grown, high quality, pesticide-free tomatoes in the Siouxland area.
Company CEO, Doug Garwood who represents the family’s six generations of food production in the region stated, “The new aquaculture system will be co-located with Cardinal Farms where our emerging company will raise hybrid, striped-bass fingerlings to maturity prior to selling them for processing. This unique enterprise will supplement the fresh fish market which we believe is growing and underserved locally.”
“Congratulations to South Sioux City for landing this project,” said Catherine Lang, director, Nebraska Department of Economic Development. “The Garwood’s investment and opportunity for growth will greatly benefit Dakota County and Nebraska.”
Community officials praised the project and Garwood’s commitment to the community. “Doug is an exceptional entrepreneur and, once again, his family is making a sizable investment in Dakota County Nebraska,” said South Sioux City’s Administrator, Lance Hedquist.
When selecting the location of this project, Garwood explained, “This is our home. This is where my children and grandchildren have been raised. Today’s project is about investing in our community and will hopefully contribute to both our community’s, as well as my family’s economic well-being.”
The state-of-the-art aquaculture facility will initially utilize two identical systems comprised of six, independent 10,000 gallon fiberglass tanks. Company COO, Scott Garwood explained, “We will be raising over 20,000 fish at any given time and our plan is to double the size of the operation to 24 total tanks within the first few years.” Company officials will carefully manage the size and growth of the operation to ensure they maximize the number of fish produced. Industry experts estimate that 98% to 99% of the fish will reach maturity and be suitable for market.
F & M Bank and Siouxland National Bank worked together on a joint loan or “participation” to finance the project which will utilize local suppliers whenever and wherever possible.
John Swick, who will lead the daily operations for Cardinal Farms Aquaculture, described some of the aspects related to raising these fish. “We will get the fingerlings when they are four or five inches in length and over the course of the eight or nine months they will grow to around two pounds which is the approximate weight at which we will harvest them.”
The new company will initially employ three people with plans for future growth and a Phase II expansion within the first year.