Is the Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC)Program Over?

By: Estefania James, MS, Program Assistant
 
The Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development at The Ohio State University South Centers has recently received many phone calls and emails requesting information how to register for the aquaculture boot camp program. One of the farmers said, “My friend told me about your program and that’s exactly what I need to move forward in my aquaculture business…is the boot camp over?” The answer is yes and no. The ABC program was funded for three years through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Even though this is year three and the source of funding is over, the aquaculture Extension staff will continue offering support to the Ohio aquaculture industry. 
Any new, beginning, or expert farmer will have access to the online resources available in the extension website (http://southcenters.osu.edu/). More workshops, hands-on training courses, fact sheets, and bus tours are planned for the coming months.
 
This is a joint effort of the OSU South Centers and the Ohio Aquaculture Association. The boot camp program has been a good source of collecting and assessing the needs of the fish farmers. As a result, two main topics were highly requested: Marketing/Processing and Aquaponics. 
The first workshop was held at the OSU South Centers in May.   According to our workshop evaluation, 92% of the participants will recommend this workshop to other farmers and they believe that the instructors were good communicators and knowledgeable on the topics. 70% of the participants strongly agreed that this workshop was applicable to their jobs. We like to thank our speakers: Traci and Craig Bell, Kelly O’Bryant, Kory Groetsch, and Dr. Dave Smith. Also, a huge applause goes to our special speakers and hands-on trainers: Dr. Stephen Reichley and Angela Caporelli. We are also proud to announce that one of our ABC 2014 graduates, Craig Bell and his wife Traci Bell, were recently notified that they received the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant. This grant will definitely improve the great efforts the Bells have made at Ripple Rock Fish Farms.  
 
The next workshop scheduled is the Aquaponics workshop July 10-11, 2015. For more information and to register, please visit the following link: http://southcenters.osu.edu/about-us/events/aquaculture.  We are proud to announce our special speaker and hands-on trainer, Ryan Chatterson. He is the owner and operator of Chatterson Farms, a commercial aquaponics farm located on five acres in the beautiful hills of Clermont, FL and has been growing with aquaponics for over a decade. He spent ten years working at Aquatic Eco-Systems where he assisted in thousands of aquaponics projects ranging from backyard systems to large commercial design. While there, he also managed Green Sky Growers rooftop aquaponics greenhouse, built and managed two large outdoor aquaponics demonstration systems and helped to design the company’s workshop curriculum, in which he taught over 150 students alongside Dr James Rakocy, Dr. Wilson Lennard, and others.
 
In early 2013, Ryan left the company to run his own commercial aquaponics farm, Chatterson Farms, and in 2014 started Aquaponic Engineering & Design, providing design, engineering and educational services to the commercial aquaponics industry. Estefania James, the ABC program coordinator, attended his workshop in April. She established a good connection with Ryan and admired his teaching skills. We look forward to having a great workshop with Ryan here in Ohio. We certainly invite all Ohio Aquaponics growers who are ready to expand their aquaponics farms and learn more about the technical aspects of designing their systems to attend this workshop. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Estefania James, james.742@osu.edu, 740-289-2071 ext. 127