Yields

Summer 2019

Northwest Farm Credit: Rural, Real Estate, Operating Loans; Farm Loans; Country Home Loans; Lot Loans; Equipment Financing; Young and Beginning Producers; Crop Insurance; Business Management Education; Property Appraisals

Issue link: https://digital.nexsitepublishing.com/i/1155824

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Amy Grondin and Greg Friedrichs fish for salmon together off the coasts of Washington and Alaska. They've been in the industry for more than 20 years, working for others before starting their own business in 2009. Being a small producer in the seafood industry isn't easy. Boats and gear are expensive. Harvest rates can rise and fall markedly. Demanding physical labor is done in tight spaces for months at sea. Yet, Greg and Amy are passionate about salmon and their storied history. They take great care to fish for them sustainably, which is catching the attention of chefs in Seattle. Greg grew up in South Africa surfing and sport fishing with his dad. The maritime lifestyle of adventure appealed to him in his 20s, but he didn't see how he could make a living fishing. So, he came to the U.S. to study boat building in Maine. That's where he met Amy. She grew up in Maine and had just moved home after college. The two friends never imagined they would fish together commercially someday. Greg and Amy started in the industry on tender boats, hired by seafood companies to buy salmon from fishermen at sea and deliver it to shore-based processors. They learned about fishing by observing the fleet and wanted to try it out for themselves. Today, they troll for salmon catching fish one at a time on hooks and line. Each salmon is landed on the boat individually or released if it isn't the right species. Trolling is more labor intensive than fishing with a net, but the extra care pays off in dividends by the quality of the fish. Catching beautiful fish is one thing. Marketing it yourself is another. Initially the couple sold their fresh fish to wholesale buyers on the dock. "Fresh" means the fish is sold within five days of the catch. To sell their own fish and capture a premium price, they needed a boat that could freeze fish at sea. In 2017 they found it – the Arminta, a 48-ft. wooden fishing boat. Problem was, most lenders don't like to loan on wooden boats because they require thorough care and maintenance. If fishermen get into financial trouble, maintenance is usually the first thing they cut. "Greg and Amy are amazing people with strong character," says Brett Cheney, Northwest FCS Relationship Manager. "They have a great seafood product, good marketing skills, and years of experience caring for wooden boats. They are 9 Northwest Farm Credit Services A Direct Line from Boat to Chef feature story PLAY VIDEO

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