Farming is a way of life, which has to be in your blood. It is hard physical work, it requires long hours and at times it can be extremely isolating.
With that said, farming can be extremely rewarding. Whether it’s derived from the pleasure of watching crops grow from mere seeds or the intermittent moments of sheer joy when you can look up and see nothing for miles except the product of your labor or the clear skies or listen to the katydids, the doves or the meadowlarks in their playful songs.
Income $50,000 $150,000
The range of income for the first year will depend upon how much land you acquire. Since abalone is considered a delicacy, it demands a very high price. Retail, abalone demands $25 to $50 a pound and at restaurants is typically 50% higher than lobster entrees.
The key to success in this business is the correct set up of the distribution line.
Abalone farms work best near the Pacific coast. The land is expensive, but if you look you’ll find property outside of larger metropolitan areas that is more reasonable.
You’ll want to develop the land to simulate the natural habitat of the ocean. Cooler temperatures are mandatory for the required growth of the abalone. Once planted, the abalone will take care of the rest until it is time to begin harvesting and take them to market.
Your clients will consist of upscale restaurants and fresh fish markets. This is where the set up of your distribution line will make or break the business. The restaurants need to have a sufficient client base in order to support a pricey menu.
Most of your marketing can be done from your home a phone. Call several restaurants and ask the chef if they would be interested in a new resource for abalone. You’ll find that, as in all businesses you’ll develop a ratio. You might find that you’ll call ten restaurants prior to getting one that will agree to do business with you.
Repeat this process for fresh fish markets; always be aware the only reason they will say no is that they don’t have the client base to support the sales volume in a timely manner. You might find it helpful to have a sign maker create signs for their restaurant windows that tout “Fresh Abalone Sold Here”. I have never seen one personally, yet it would logically make sense that it would attract the attention of those of us who are abalone aficionados.
Your Power Partners will consist of to anyone else who sells to restaurants who can provide you with personal introductions to those whom with they deal.
Some of them might be fish farmers, point-of-sale cash register vendors, linen services and even wine vendors.
The conversations with these Power Partners should include your willingness to include them in your referrals as you become aware of clients that need their services. It is important you meet with these Power Partners in person the first time, and keep in touch with them weekly by email or by a phone.
You’ll need at least one-half to ten acres of land to begin with, the more land you have, the more abalone you can breed. A typical farm may have one or more biologist helping with the scientific considerations of the business, but it will also have several laborers to feed and care for the abalone.
Licensing requirements will be specific for each site, but may include federal, regional, provincial, and/or local licenses.
I have come across several websites, which were very detailed regarding the process of starting an abalone farm. Here are two websites that were particularly helpful.
Additionally, I have come across a book, Abalone Farming by Rick Fallu that has exceptional resources.
Personality Type: Expressive, Amiable
Total Start Up Costs: Less than $150,000-500,000
(includes the land, business cards, tools, a phone and advertising)