The new wave of farming

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 May 2008, at 1:00am

US - A decade ago Jeff Meyer decided to give up his familys century-old tradition of dairy farming.

“I was a fourth generation (dairy farmer), and it was all I knew,” he said recently. “It was extremely hard on the family.”

But the dairy industry and the economics behind it were changing, making it unprofitable for Meyer to continue without a major expansion.

“To expand in this part of the country with all the residential growth, it wouldn’t have been wise,” he said.

Today, Meyer has no regrets. At their Cal-Ann Farms in Basehor, he and his wife, Pam, along with their grown children — daughters Michelle and Rebecca and son Nicholas — operate a successful indoor fish farm raising Nile tilapia. They combine the fish operation with the growing of vegetables in a greenhouse by utilizing an aquaponics system. The nutrient-rich wastewater from the fish tanks is pumped into the vegetable plant beds. The water, minus the waste, is recirculated back into the tanks.