Steve Mendez

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since Aug 15, 2013
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Recent posts by Steve Mendez

What type of fish live in the water source? The more edible types that are naturally occurring would probably be the best for propagation. Are the ponds set up for harvesting fish? If not, then cage culture may be the best way to go. To grow large numbers of fish, you'll need to provide at least some supplemental feed.
1 week ago
I have done a bit of research on commercial eel culture. Yes, there are profitable eel farms. They are a much sought after food item in several countries.
I haven't found any instance where they are spawned in captivity. Somebody may be doing it and they are keeping quiet about it. I wouldn't blame them, elvers or glass eels or baby eels are one of the most high dollar aquatic animals there are.
Eels are a catadromous species meaning that they migrate down rivers to spawn in the sea, as opposed to anadromous species that migrate from the sea up the rivers to spawn (salmon). Anadromous fish are routinely spawned by people for commercial purposes, catadromous species not so much.
This means that baby eels must be captured as they migrate up the rivers and then sold to eel farmers for grow-out. Some states have a glass eel season. They are tiny and see through, thus glass eels.
I have no problem with this practice as long as their capture is controlled and regulated by qualified Biologists.
4 months ago
Yikes! I just reread my reply from a few days ago. In my attempt to use the metric system I made a glaring mistake. Our animals do sell for an average of $45.00/lb. I divided $45.00/lb by 2.2 lbs in a Kg to get $20.45/Kg. I should have multiplied $45.00/lb by 2.2 lb/KG to get $99.00/Kg.  
5 months ago
My wife and I raise purpose-bred American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana/lithobates).

We supply up to 6,000 live Bullfrogs a year to a small but nationwide niche market.

We run our farm year-round on less than 1/4 acre - .1 hectare, of rented ground in zone 6b.

I spend 20 - 25 hrs a week on the day to day operation of our farm/business and my wife spends 3 - 4 hrs a week sorting, counting, weighing, or measuring the Bullfrogs for shipment.

We sell four sizes: Medium, large, jumbo, and super jumbo. They are priced by the each which averages about $20.00, or $45.00/lb - $20.45/Kg.

We have 36 customers, some of them have been with us for over 20 years.

We aren't a completely Permaculture farm, but no herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, or electricity are used on our farm.

I love this occupation.
5 months ago
I have access to aged fish manure from a local trout farm that doesn't use antibiotics or medicated feed.

At the trout farm the manure is pumped as a slurry from the settling basins to dirt pits where it sits and separates. The water is decanted and the resulting very thick sludge dries down into a dark heavy shovelable material (the color and consistency of 1/2 meter thick chocolate brownies). This stuff is put into empty fish feed sacks and provided free to the public. In March I take 10 bags home and dump the manure into a pile next to the garden. In May I spread it on the garden and till it in.

I don't claim to have expertise in using fish manure as fertilizer but our garden produces a bounteous crop of veggies every year.

There are no weed seeds in this product and no human pathogens since it comes from cold blooded animals.

There are a lot of other much larger fish farms in our area. At least one company has turned their manure into a profit generating product. They mix their waste with used straw bedding from a large dairy. This mix is windrowed and turned over until it is compost. It is then sold by the large truck load.

Adam, does your fish manure come from a salt water farm or a fresh water farm? I wonder if it makes a difference.
5 months ago
This sounds like a joke but it's not.

I've thought of going commercial with the manure generated by the animals on our farm. Think "Froguano" and "Tadpoo". We also have access to large quantities of "Fishit".

With land next to a municipal sewage treatment plant, neighbors and odor are not an issue.

These manures, when composted become a rich, dark, earthy material that grows wonderful vegetables. Since it comes from poikilothermic animals, the chance for zoonosis is nil.

Our free heat source speeds up the composting process.

I registered many years ago.

Alas; I'm an old cripple, and already as busy as I want to be.

5 months ago
Gosh Travis, Your posts are so open and honest and selfless. You are a person of faith, that must be a comfort. Your preparations will ease your family's transition. You are always so prepared. Permies is losing a piece of it's heart.

I suggest that you go after the research/scientific/medical market.
Texas is a big state with a large number of colleges and universities, medical schools, govt. and private research labs, and hospitals.
I think that Texas institutions may give consideration to "local" suppliers. There may already be Texan suppliers. If there are they probably keep a low public profile to protect their lucrative business.
It is my experience that filling a "small" niche market can make the difference between selling your crop as a commodity for $4.50/lb or selling your crop as a specialty for $45.00/lb.
6 months ago
Mike Jay has given you excellent advice and some possible leads.
Gaining experience, making contacts, establishing a track record, and paying your dues is the way to start.
You sound young, as I once was.
I have rented my 1/10 acre farm since 1994. It is not necessary to own land or borrow money or take public funds to have a successful farm business.
Surely there is a landowner in NW AR who is willing to let you use a small piece of vacant ground in exchange for the upkeep and a percentage of your gross income from their land.
If you are motivated you could do this while enrolled in the Horticulture Program and working at least part time.
Find your niche, become the expert at growing and marketing your crop.
It will not be easy-it will be hard.
If you have the "fire in the belly" you will stay focused and do what it takes.
Anything else is just talk.
6 months ago
Thank you Anne for showing the article on the benefits of planting flowers along roadways. I read the whole article. For less traveled slower roads like the ones in the article this makes a lot of sense.
We planned our trip from Hanover to Huntsville to take advantage of the quiet, slower, and less traveled routes. The relaxing byways through the idyllic countryside in the Eastern USA are wonderful. It took us a day longer and at least 200 miles more than if we had traveled the freeways the whole way. We did drive on busy state and interstate highways at some point each day though. It is these busy high speed highways with flowers planted along them that caused me to write my original post.
The amount of traffic on these main highways through the rural countryside really made an impression us (we are farmers from Idaho). There are thousands of vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed through many large fields of planted flowers each day. Flying insects, as well as walking, hopping, and crawling insects trying to cross these roads have a very high probability of not making it across alive. I wonder why people think it is a good idea to attract insects; pollinating and otherwise to these lethal killing grounds.
7 months ago