Hutterite salmon farm fails

The Hutterite “Prairie Aquaculture Systems” farm in operation. Now, just two years later, the farm is shutting down and the recirc equipment is for sale.

If the Hutterites can’t do it, no one can.

We heard this week that the much-vaunted Miller Hutterite Colony land-based salmon farm in Montana has failed, after only two years.

That was just long enough to get out one harvest — if there even was a harvest, we haven’t heard.

What we have heard is that they are shutting down and selling off all their recirculation equipment.

It’s all for sale, if anyone is interested.

This is interesting news not because we are trying to gloat. We’re not. It’s just that if anyone could have made land-based salmon farming work as a real-world, viable commercial-scale operation, it would have been the Hutterites, because Hutterites work for free. They live in a communal lifestyle and don’t pay wages. There were no wage and labour costs associated with this facility. Given that profits for land-based salmon farms are extremely slim, with fluctuating salmon prices enough to drive them into the red in a blink, having no wage and benefit costs for employees could have made this more viable.

But clearly after experimenting with this system the Brethren decided it wasn’t going to work for them.

Maybe someday someone will make it work, but people keep trying — and failing.

Perhaps it’s time for land-based salmon farm promoters to stop promoting unrealistic dreams as magic bullet solutions, and realize that conventional salmon farms are here to stay.

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2 thoughts on “Hutterite salmon farm fails”

  1. I just wanted to clarify a bit of misinformation in this article. I work very closely with Hutterites in their businesses and although they do not pay “wages” they provide housing, food, clothing, education, health care, etc etc etc and all the requirements that families need on a daily basis. There is a cost to this – and when you have 15 or 20 families on a farm – that cost is very significant. This misinformation continues to spread unfortunately from just ignorance or an unwillingness to have an open mind to learn. When working to put together an article for a publication I would encourage a journalistic approach and gather all the information before writing something that is a bit misleading (and may on the surface hint at a bias). And just to clarify in case anyone else didn’t know this – yes, Hutterites do pay tax and they have paid more than any other tax payers in Canada.

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