Valee Taylor owns and operates Taylor Fish Farm, an aquaculture farm that supplies grocers in North Carolina with fresh farm-raised tilapia. Stores that carry Valee’s fish include Publix, Whole Foods, Piggly Wiggly, and other major grocery chains in the state.
To reduce the cost of production and, in turn, the cost for the consumer, Valee plans to construct a fish processing center on site to filet and package the fish. He expects that the savings from not having to transport the fish to an off-site facility will be substantial.
This year, Valee has experienced both the ups and downs of farming. First, he experienced setbacks due to a power failure during an electrical storm. Second, he received a Value-Added Producer Grant from the USDA. With the support of the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and the USDA, Valee will be able to vertically integrate his operation and become more efficient by building a hatchery as well as a processing facility.
Valee hired a professional contractor with a PhD in Aquaculture to manage the project. This hatchery will allow Valee to save money through consistent supplies of new fish to his system. It will also allow him to manage his own breeding stock and select characteristics that will give him the competitive advantage in the wholesale market.