Local farmer grows shrimp in aquifer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

EUTAW &8212; William R. &8220;Dickie&8221; Odom has been growing shrimp in the brackish aquifer of Greene County since 1999.

According to Odom, who owns and operates Odom Farms between Forkland and Eutaw, his ponds produce an average of 35,000 pounds of shrimp annually.

Odom operates six ponds that are based on two acres. The ponds hold between 7,000 to 8,000 pounds of shrimp each.

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Odom raises Pacific White Shrimp in his ponds. He said they are most suited for pond raising environments.

It takes about a day to harvest one pond of its shrimp. Generally harvesting starts around the first week in October.

Oct. 15 was the last public sale of the season for Odom. The shrimp are harvested alive by draining the ponds and using an apparatus behind the dams to pick them up. They are then put on ice and taken back to be cleaned. All this is done on Odom Farms.

According to Odom, a lot of time and maintenance goes into raising shrimp.

According to Odom, they know how much to feed the shrimp based on monitoring the weekly growth rate. The shrimp Odom gets come from a hatchery in south Florida.

The growing season for pond raised shrimp is anywhere from 120 to 150 days. Odom has raised catfish and redfish before, so shrimp was a natural transition for him.

Right now, Odom has flounder on hand that he will start raising in his ponds as part of an experiment from Auburn University.

According to Odom, people are buying more local, fresh shrimp from ponds than imported shrimp because there have been illegal drugs being used in the raising of foreign shrimp.