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By BETH ZUMWALT
The former Jones Poultry plant in Pearl is being used, this time for making liquid fertilizer from Asian carp.
Andy Houston, owner of Captain Carp, says his company secured a contract with the Illinois Department of Conservation to collect carp from commercial fishermen, who are paid from IDNR funds. Fish come from both the Illinois and Mississippi River.
“When we get 4,000 pounds of fish, we put it in the vat, along with 900 gallons of water and turn it on,” Houston said. “Eight hours later we have liquid fertilizer.”
This is an entirely different process than the former fish plant at Pearl. The two are not affiliated what so ever, Houston stressed.
The process used by Captain Carp is able to capture 54 percent of an Asian Carp’s humic acid, which is high according to industry standards.
Humic acid is a group of molecules that bind to and help plant roots receive water and nutrients. High humic acid levels can dramatically increase yields. Humic acid deficiency can prevent farmers and gardeners from growing crops with optimum nutrition.
The Captain Carp fertilizer is 1-1-3. The first 1 is for nitrogen, the second 1 stands for pot ash and the 3 is for phosphorus, all three necessary for health plants.
Houston said the plant currently employees two people, but hopes to expand it as the product catches on around the country.
‘We sold some to farmers near the desert,” Houston said. “The difference is amazing. We seen tomato plants get seven feet tall.”
The product is available online.
Right now, Captain Carp is trying to get into the retail business with nation-wide chains such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards and others. They will also have a stand at the Illinois State Fair encouraging people to try their product.
“We’ve passed out a lot of samples and gotten some really favorable reviews from those that have used it,” Houston said.