The Land Report

2018.3

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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raise at least 273,000 pounds of sellable shrimp, and on good years his revenues can exceed $1 million. e son of missionaries, Teichert- Coddington was born in Liberia on the western coast of Africa. He could see the Atlantic Ocean from his family's cement-block house and spent nearly every day of his childhood in or near the water. "I basically grew up in the ocean," he says. After his family moved back to the United States and Teichert-Coddington graduated from Houghton College in western New York in 1976, he wanted to maintain that connection to the water, even if he no longer lived on the coast. "So I decided I was going to grow fish," he says. "I started looking at catalogues and found out about Auburn. ey had both a graduate program in aquaculture and fisheries and an International Cen- ter for Aquaculture. At the time, it was really the only aquaculture program of its kind in the world." A degree from Auburn University led to a job with Auburn, and for 10 years Teichert-Coddington worked in Pan- ama and then Honduras as part of the school's fisheries research and develop- ment project. He returned to the US in 1995, spent time at Auburn's fisher- ies research facility in Gulf Shores, and then was introduced to the salt water of Western Alabama. "In 1999, a guy who grows cat- fish around here — Dickie Odom — inquired about whether they could grow shrimp in this salty water," Teichert-Coddington recalls. "I said, 'I don't know why not?' So we started playing around with shrimp and did some experimental stuff. We tried it for a year, had a very poor survival rate, then tried for another year with similar results." "It seemed like there was a lot of potential, but the only way I was going to figure it out was to get fully involved in it. I had experience with shrimp overseas, with physiology and water chemistry. So when this piece of land came up for sale in the salt-water zone, I quit the university and built the ponds." e water temperature needs to be at least 55 degrees for shrimp to survive, so Teichert-Coddington did not stock his ponds for the first time until April of 2001. It was, he says, "an absolute failure." e baby shrimp, which were each no bigger than an eyelash, were all dead within weeks. "For any salt-water animal, you have to have certain quantities of sodium and potassium in proper ratio," Teichert-Coddington says. "I knew we had enough salt in the ponds, so I deduced that the problem was with insufficient potassium." He set up some experimental tanks and, through a process of trial-and- error, finally discovered what seemed to be the correct amount of potassium. So he added this new formula to the ponds, and the mortality rate "just quit overnight." "It's the only silver bullet I've ever had in my professional career," he says with In addition to specific levels of sodium and potassium, the water temperature in the ponds needs to be at least 55 degrees for shrimp to survive. This led to an abbreviated growing season, from April to October. TEN YEARS The venture required a decade to ultimately get on firm financial footing. 74 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | FALL 20 18

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