August 1, 2017

Blue Ridge Aquaculture proudly announces the official opening of Blue Ridge Aquafeeds, an innovative feed mill that will supply the company's internal feed demand as well as the growing aquaculture market. This is the first time that feed milling has been integrated into a successful recirculating aquaculture operation, and marks a milestone in the development of indoor aquaculture. By controlling its own feed supply, Blue Ridge Aquaculture can advance Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) to their full potential. Total capital investment for this project is approximately $5,000,000 and will create several new jobs to support the new operations. A celebration of this opening was held on Monday, July 31st at the site of the new mill.

The new Blue Ridge Aquafeeds facility is an innovative, industry leading aquafeed mill that will leverage the advantages of closed system aquaculture to further develop the RAS industry. It incorporates innovations in the areas of facility design, system integration, product traceability, and local ingredient supply. The new milling facility will supply the company's current tilapia production, and was scaled to support the company's future growth plans. With singleness of purpose, the farm can collaborate directly with the feed mill, and develop diets that best meet the nutritional requirements of fish in these systems.

Blue Ridge Aquaculture will also supply feeds to other customers with a focus on high quality diets. The new mill is well positioned with a strong value proposition that gives it a unique competitive advantage to develop these markets:

  • Blue Ridge Aquaculture is a farming operation, and understands the importance of a high quality feed service.
  • The company can drive feed innovation in a commercial setting, with a focus on improvements along the entire value chain.
  • Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) are the next logical progression in aquaculture development, and this milling operation will specialize in feed for RAS and closed systems.
  • There has been a void in the development of aquaculture in the US, resulting in a similar void in the domestic aqua feed industry. This new facility will incorporate several innovations that have allowed the feed industry to evolve in other regions.

Blue Ridge Aquafeeds is grateful for the assistance and support it has received for this project, including grants from the Virginia Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industry Development Fund, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and Henry County.

"Blue Ridge Aquaculture's expansion is another step forward for Virginia as we solidify our standing as a key player in the nation's seafood sector," said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Basil Gooden. "Aquaculture production represents an opportunity for Virginia to capitalize on the need to feed a growing population with limited resources. We are lucky to have an innovative company like Blue Ridge Aquaculture as a member of the agriculture community in Virginia. I'm pleased we could match Henry County's investment into their business through an AFID grant, and I look forward to their continued success."

Blue Ridge Aquaculture, an employee owned company, is the global leader in commercial Recirculating Aquaculture Systems. Founded in 1993, the company has been in continuous operation for nearly twenty years, and has grown to produce over 4 million pounds of tilapia per year. Current infrastructure includes an indoor 800,000 SF production facility, hatchery, and nursery, and a live-haul trucking company. Most importantly, the company acknowledges its key advantage is the dedicated staff and employees that have driven continuous improvements in all areas of operations. The company's long-term vision is large-scale production of fisheries products using Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). Integrating feed production into the company's operations is key to the success of this plan.