Growing Crickets to Provide and Sustain

Winner

Rebecca Herman
Iowa Cricket Farmer
Keystone, IA
We are cricket farmers specializing in raising miniature livestock for human consumption. Our livestock is organic and top of the line.
Iowa Cricket Farmer LLC is unique in that it is one of only a few businesses in the country that specializes in raising organic crickets for human consumption, and the only one in the state of Iowa. Eventually, we would prefer to sell our crickets to local entities such as restaurants and food retailers, but starting out we will be targeting national companies that presently produce cricket protein bars and other foods using crickets as the protein. As it is, the demand for human-edible crickets is higher than the supply so we are looking to fill part of the void. Eventually we may expand to include other edible insects, but we are starting with crickets because they are considered the "gateway bug" when it comes to entomophagy. A byproduct of cricket husbandry is the fertilizer that we can collect and sell to local gardeners (and use in our organic vegetable garden we will be growing to supplement our cricket feed.) Insects can provide sustainable protein for humans without creating such a heavy carbon footprint as traditional agricultural livestock. In fact, in 2013 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations published a report entitled, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security." Crickets are already accepted as a good source of protein in the health market community, and we are hoping to bring them into the mainstream community here in Iowa. We also hope to help bring revitalization to our Main Street community in Keystone, Iowa. Keystone is an agricultural community with a rich history that dates back to the mid to late 1800s. Our business is right on Main Street, and we are hoping to build partnerships with local FFAs to teach about the health and environmental advantages of raising crickets.
We used our start-up capital to buy a 3,800 sq ft building that used to be a restaurant in Keystone, IA. We will be stacking our cricket "tubs" three high throughout and are hoping to produce at least 1,500 lbs of crickets every six weeks once we are operating at 100%. We predict that most of the cost of raising the crickets will mainly coming from feeding the crickets and keeping the building warm enough for the crickets to breed. Because of this, we would like to purchase a few breeding "tents" that are climate and humidity controlled that we could place inside of our building for the egg-laying stage of growth. Crickets prefer to breed in balmy temperatures (85-90 degrees F) and to trap and effectively heat the breeding chambers it would be beneficial to have large tents for this purpose. These tents are quite expensive so we would use the money to go toward purchasing them.

Current Rank

1

Number of Votes

615
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