Prairie AquaTech, founded in Brookings, SD, in 2012 will be building in Volga, SD, about five miles west of Brookings and next to one of its partners: South Dakota Soybean Processors.
Other partners vital to the $60 million project and its continued success include South Dakota State University and the Brookings Economic Development Corporation.
“For projects of this magnitude, it really takes a village to make it happen,” says Mark Luecke, managing director and CEO of Prairie AquaTech, which makes a protein-rich ingredient used in fish feed.
He noted that the company’s products came about out of research at South Dakota State University College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.
Luecke calls Prairie AquaTech a very unique facility that uses “large fermentation tanks where we’ve taken the work that SDSU did in small, little flasks and we’ve now scaled it up to these big fermentation tanks.”
“Essentially what we’re doing is fermenting soybean meal,” he explains. "We buy soybean meal from South Dakota Soybean Processors in Volga. They have a plant down in Miller that produces non-genetically modified meal.
“We ferment that. And on site, we also have a small feed mill. That allows us to take our ingredients and mix them with other ingredients and pelletize that into a fish feed.” That feed, while not the finished product it produces, can then be used to test AquaTech’s protein-rich ingredient to ensure its compatability as a vital component of a final fish-feed product.
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