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Market research study helped entrepreneur hook a loan for fish farm

Phillip Shambach of Romney, Ind., needed some special help to realize his dream of starting a fish farm. He got it from Purdue Extension.

A market research study conducted by a Purdue aquaculture specialist helped Shambach determine that there was a market demand for the business he wanted to create, and it gave him insight into the types of fish that customers wanted.

The study, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance, was an excellent resource for Shambach, who was seeking financing to get started. Justifying his business plan to banks was especially difficult, he says, because fish farming is such a relatively new and small industry in Indiana. Information in the study provided the extra support he needed to obtain a loan.

“It was a tremendous help,” he says. “What it did was validate the information I was giving to the banks. It gave strength to my plan.”
Shambach‘s dream came true. He is president and CEO of his business, Tippco Fish Inc., which raises tilapia for the food fish market, mostly for Asian-American markets such as Chinatown in Chicago.

Shambach also appreciates the many other ways that Purdue Extension helps him and other operators of fish farms. As an example, the 2013 publication Economic Importance of the Aquaculture Industry in Indiana details how the industry has been growing in Indiana, from 18 farms in 2006 to about 50 in 2013. He says the publication helps to raise awareness of how fish farms contribute to the state’s agricultural economy such as through increased sales tax and income tax revenue.

“It shows that fish farms are making a positive economic impact in Indiana,” he says.


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