Joe Sweeney was named 2017 STATEment Makers by the ISU Alumni Association. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, and even more about his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: farm raising high-quality seafood in the middle of Iowa. The successful Buckeye Fish Company he helped create was acquired in 2016. So in October, Joe and his business partners–Paul Skartvedt ’97 and Nathan Katzer ’07–launched “Eagle’s Catch,” a new fish farm in Ellsworth, Iowa, that is on track to become one of the largest re-circulating aquaculture systems in the world. Joe’s also currently hard at work launching another business venture in the biotech industry as he strives toward his ultimate goal of revitalizing Iowa’s rural economy–to “bring skilled, high-paying jobs to rural Iowa, where our beautiful landscape, small town life, and rural morals make a great and meaningful life.”
Joe was featured in a story, "Catch of day: Is Iowa poised to be leader in seafood production?"
If you want fresh seafood, where do you go? Iowa, of course. Iowa is best known for growing corn and soybeans and raising hogs. But there’s a new kid knocking on the barn door if you listen to people involved in fish farming, also known as aquaculture.
“I believe we can become the leading seafood-producing state in the country,” said Joe Sweeney, CEO of Eagle’s Catch, a facility in Ellsworth that produces tilapia for live sales of fish to specialty markets across the country.
Eagle’s Catch is one of as many as 30 fish farms in Iowa producing tilapia or shrimp, or fish to stock ponds and rivers in the state.
According to information from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, aquaculture generated more than $3.8 million in sales in Iowa in 2018, the most recent year that data was available. That includes production of all varieties of fish used for different purposes.
Business Record, Nov. 25, 2020