May 22, 2009

Director of Agriculture Visits Missouri Aquaculture Facilities to Discuss Stimulus Funding

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Dr. Jon Hagler visited two Missouri aquaculture facilities to tour their fisheries and learn about economic struggles they are facing with the rising cost of feed prices. Ozark Fisheries in Stoutland and Osage Catfisheries in Osage Beach are both candidates to receive funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). On Feb. 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $50 million would become available to aquaculture producers across the nation. Gov. Jay Nixon subsequently tasked MDA with identifying producers eligible for assistance. Missouri could be eligible for up to $500,000 of those funds.

“Farmers across this state are facing tough times and this holds true for the aquaculture industry. Gov. Nixon and the Department of Agriculture are committed to seeing that Missouri producers get their fair share of stimulus dollars. The stimulus funding that will be available is going to help offset feed costs and keep their businesses up and running,” said Dr. Hagler. “The two fisheries we visited today are a clear example of innovation in the aquaculture industry. The Department of Agriculture wants to do everything we can to assist these businesses in remaining successful.”

Ozark Fisheries began in 1926. Larry and Jana Cleveland oversee both the fish business as well as a large cattle operation in Stoutland. They produce goldfish and koi which are shipped to customers throughout North America and Western Europe.

Jim Kahrs began Osage Catfisheries in 1953 as a family operation. Steve Kahrs and Pete Kahrs now oversee the operation. The Kahrs raise a variety of specialty fish for labs, zoos and private customers. They are innovators in raising paddlefish for their caviar and market it through their company L’ Osage Caviar. The Kahrs built Sycamore Creek Golf Course around the ponds at the fishery to add value to their existing fish farm.

Over 70 fisheries are located through the state many of which market their fish in the U.S. and internationally. The aquaculture industry provides more than $7 million to the state’s economy. Fish in Missouri are raised for five markets including foodfish, bait, pond stocking, ornamental trade and fee fishing.

To learn more about the state’s aquaculture industry, visit