KNOXVILLE â€“ Freshwater shrimp have been garnering quite a bit of press recently as a possible new crop for Tennessee to help offset reduced demand for tobacco. The major drawback to farming freshwater shrimp is that not everyone has the water and facilities to get into the business.
Farmers without suitable ponds have been searching for yet another niche crop to explore. Billy Bob Barnes of Philadelphia, TN has been raising seals for the past year â€“ raising them in the three bathtubs of his home.
â€œThe seal is a perfect cash crop.â€ explained Mr. Barnes. â€œEvery part of the animal has value. The meat and blubber are excellent, and the skin has several uses ranging from shoes to purses. The little whiskers on their faces work wonderfully as viola strings. Also, rather than staging a large production you can simply club them to death in the bathroom.â€
Mr. Barnes plans to add at least six more bathtubs to his three bedroom house over the next year if raising baby seals continues to prove profitable.