Happy Holidays from Optimal

Optimal Fish Food would like to thank each and every one of you for your support throughout the 2018 season. We are honored to have had the ability to work with so many elite pond and lake managers, as well as the great community of pond owners. We can’t express the joy we have all received from the many great photos, videos, stories, and conversations we have had with many of you.

To top the year off, Optimal Fish Food has teamed up with Green Plains to start a new joint venture, Optimal Aquafeed. Optimal Aquafeed will use our Optimal approach to producing feeds and providing customer service and apply it in the aquaculture industry. This new business will operate outside of Optimal Fish Food and as it’s own entity. Optimal Fish Food will continue developing, researching, and formulating fish feeds designed specifically for the pond and lake community. This new relationship will help us further source, evaluate, and include novel ingredients that will further increase the performance of our feeds.

As 2019 nears, we are looking forward to a lot of big improvements.  We’re working on the designs for a printed bag which we are really excited for.  Over the last couple years we have been asked for a subscription type of platform that will auto order feed for customers who have a fairly consistent feeding plan.  We have a number of people already signed up for the next Open Trial, which we are hoping to send kits out for in the spring.  We also have a bunch of other fun stuff planned like newletters, merch, contests, and holiday specials.

All of us at Optimal Fish Food would like to sincerely thank all of you for the support and wish you and your families the happiest of holidays.

We would like to individually thank some of the many businesses for their support, trust, and belief in Optimal Fish Food this year: • Edge’s Aquatic Services • Fender’s Fish Hatchery • Luster’s Fish & Wildlife • Ouroboros Farms • Outdoor Water Solutions • SOLitude Lake Management • Texas Pro Lake Management • Trophy Pond Solutions • Twin Oaks Ponds

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Green Plains and Optimal Fish Food Announce Formation of Aquafeed Joint Venture

Green Plains and Optimal Fish Food Announce Formation of Aquafeed Joint Venture

Optimal Aquafeed created to address fast growing Aquaculture feed markets


OMAHA, Neb. and BROOKINGS S.D., Dec. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)-Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) and Optimal Fish Food LLC., today announced the companies have formed Optimal Aquafeed, a 50/50 joint venture to produce high-quality aquaculture feeds utilizing proprietary techniques and high-protein feed ingredients. The joint venture brings together Green Plains’ production capabilities, commodity expertise, and back office knowledge and combines that with Optimal Fish Food’s intellectual property, industry expertise and customer relationships and does not require a material capital investment for success.


Green Plains and Optimal Fish Food believe there is significant room for nutritional improvements in aquaculture feeds through research and understanding today’s rapidly changing availability of ingredients, especially next generation high-protein feed ingredients that will be produced at Green Plains’ ethanol plants in the future. By incorporating high-quality agricultural products along with plant-based proteins, algae, and other single-cell protein ingredients, Optimal Aquafeed will be able to meet the unique and growing needs of aquaculture producers globally.


“Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and we have an opportunity to become a key supplier of high-quality protein aquafeed” said Todd Becker, Green Plains president and CEO. “This joint venture perfectly aligns with our strategy to invest in high-protein process technology, providing us a pathway to a significant, growing customer base. We have partnered with global leaders in aquaculture feed formulation that will bring higher realized values not only for the high-protein products we will produce, but will also service customers worldwide that are looking for alternatives to traditional fish meal based feeds. We believe this relationship will maximize the value of our products, further reducing the volatility of our earnings in the future, as well as accelerating our confidence to invest in the transformation of our current ethanol platform.”


“This new partnership will help change the relationship between ingredient suppliers, feed manufacturers, and fish producers to bring a new approach to transparency, quality, and fish performance within the industry.” said Bill Harris, a Principal of Optimal Fish Food. “The market is moving away from traditional fishmeal diets, and the development of new high-protein products from Green Plains will not only enhance feed conversion in many species of fish, but also allow aquaculture producers to better serve a growing market of consumers looking for products that are not widely available in the market today.”


Incorporating novel high-protein feed ingredients into Optimal Aquafeed’s complete feed products offering, provides growth and health benefits far beyond today’s protein feed levels. As consumers globally demand increasing ingredient transparency, we believe that Optimal Aquafeed is ideally positioned to bring these non-animal based, next generation ingredients to market in both conventional and recirculating aquaculture system specific feeds.


Aquaculture is expected to supply approximately 62 percent, or 93 million tons of the world’s seafood supply by 2030, according to a study by the World Bank. To serve this growing industry, Optimal Aquafeed will match appropriate feed formulations to the unique needs of producers’ fish species, rearing systems, and locales. The ability to create high-quality, high-performance feeds in specialized formulations will be key to sustaining and expanding aquaculture’s tremendous global growth.


About Green Plains Inc.

Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) is a diversified commodity-processing business with operations related to ethanol production, grain handling and storage, cattle feeding, and commodity marketing and logistics services. The company is one of the leading producers of ethanol in the world and, through its adjacent businesses, is focused on the production of high-protein feed ingredients and export growth opportunities. Green Plains owns a 49.1% limited partner interest and a 2.0% general partner interest in Green Plains Partners. For more information about Green Plains, visit


About Optimal Fish Food LLC

Optimal Fish Food is a feed company targeting the recreational fish marketplace by providing high performance fish feeds designed to grow trophy fish. The company employs a rigorous approach to feed formulations, ingredient selection, biological assessment, and specialized extruder technology.  Optimal Fish Food sells aquafeeds throughout the United States through distributors as well as direct from their online store.  For more information about Optimal Fish Food, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s current views, which are subject to risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, anticipated financial and operating results, plans and objectives that are not historical in nature. These statements may be identified by words such as “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar expressions. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied include risks related to Green Plains’ ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Optimal Aquafeed joint venture and other risks discussedin Green Plains’ reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release. Green Plains assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements, except as required by law.


Green Plains Inc. Contact:

Jim Stark | Vice President Investor & Media Relations | 402.884.8700 |


Optimal Fish Food LLC. Contact:

Dustin Schulz | President| 605.692.3474 |




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40% Protein Fish Food – Part 2

What does a 40% protein diet actually mean?

Many feeds boast high protein values. On one hand, protein requirements for fish are well researched and dictate how feeds are produced. On the other hand, protein is valuable. Feed companies know high protein diets can command a higher price-tag. This environment has created an interesting, and quite complicated, situation.


In nature, many fish eat other fish.  This leads many people to assume that more protein is simply better.  However, too much protein can be detrimental in terms of water quality, as extra protein will pass through fish and into the environment. We try to balance our formulations with respect to protein and energy—supplying protein in levels that will support maximum gain (protein accumulation) and utilizing better forms of energy (fats) for energetic considerations.  This balance is called protein to energy ratios.


We will save going into specific detail about ingredients for a later time. For now, let’s just explore what  “40% protein” on a tag actually means and the different approaches to achieving it.


Diets are comprised of a number of components. Each component supplies a unique set of nutritional compositional details.  Many ingredients by themselves are higher than 40% protein, especially animal-based protein sources like fish and animal meal. Each of these protein sources vary in nutritional make-up…and price.  Creating a feed for fish is a complex and multifaceted task, and formulations vary in terms of the ultimate result. While many people immediately think they want a feed that produces the fastest growth, others may want to balance growth with environmental impacts (like phosphorus discharge). Others may take into consideration fish health and well-being. Focusing on one particular outcome often comes at the expense of another, hence the difficulty in providing high quality fish feeds for such a diverse marketplace.


There are multiple grades and qualities of protein sources which we will dive more into at a later time, and there are multitudes of protein sources than can be utilized for the formulation and production of fish feeds.  In the table below we are providing a simple, abbreviated chart of some of the more common ingredient sources used in fish food production and an approximate idea of their compositions.


Animal Protein Sources% Protein% Fat% Ash% Fiber
Fish Meals50-808-1510-25> 1.0
Poultry Meals49-6410-2511-25> 1.3
Blood Meals75-901-52-5<1.0
Plant Protein Sources
Soy Products38-751-201-503  – 30
Corn Products5-751-101-101-10
Wheat Products10-201-51-52-10



As many of you may notice, most of the ingredients have crude protein values higher than 40%. In order to achieve a final feed protein value lower than the individual protein source, the diet needs to be “diluted” down. If you have an ingredient with a high protein (ie. Fish meal), it needs to be mixed with something with a low protein (corn) in order to bring the average protein down. The higher the protein level of the specific ingredient, the more dilution is required.  This presents a crucial decision to nutritionists: what protein source do you use and how do you fill out the rest of the formulation? These decisions will ultimately determine not only the cost of the feed, but also its performance with respect to fish growth and health, as well as its potential impacts on the environment.


To further complicate this, traditional floating fish feeds are extruded.  Extrusion only works with starches and carbohydrates…which fish don’t generally eat.  Fish and animal meals do not contain much starch content.  Without starches the feed will fall apart and will not float.  For example, a fish feed pellet comprised entirely of fish meal would overcook in an extruder and create an unstable and fast sinking pellet.  Typically, plant products are utilized as starch sources.  The long term effects of floating feeds high in starches and carbohydrates are poorly understood in fish and an area of active research and interest for us here at Optimal Fish Food.


Optimal Fish Food takes the approach of using high quality ingredients for not only the main protein source, but for ALL of the ingredients. Many of the conventional “dilution” type ingredients bring along sources of undesirable components. These are antinutritional factors like phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors, xanthophylls which can cause fillets to yellow, improperly balanced minerals which can facilitate disease, or low digestibility which can decrease water quality.


As indicated by the chart, there are a wide variety of  protein sources and grades to choose from.  We’ll talk more about how we choose from that list and how we go about evaluating our ingredient choices in our next installment.

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