By: Hanping Wang, PhD, ABC Program Director/Senior Scientist and Jordan Maxwell, ABC Program Coordinator
The Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) at the OSU South Centers received its second project funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop and operate Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC). This ABC-2 is a program for training new and beginning aquaculture farmers in production techniques and business development skills in Ohio and adjacent states. OSU is the first aquaculture program to receive this type of project funding from USDA in the country.
Based on ABC-1 students’ feedback, aquaculture team, in collaboration with business team and horticulture team at the OSU South Centers, and in partnership with Ohio Aqauculture Association and University of Wisconsin –Stevens Point, developed the ABC-2 program. The ABC-2 program utilizes a “3-I” (Intensive, Intermediate, Introductory) training and multi-faceted approach, including classroom and hands-on training, paired with industry mentoring to enhance the sustainability of new and beginning aquaculture/aquaponic farmers in the Midwest. A key addition to ABC-2 is the inclusion of aquaponics. This expansion is a direct result of strong interest within Ohio and the North Central Region. Upon completion, participants will have the knowledge and hands-on experience to successfully operate a sustainable aquaculture or aquaponics business. OSU looks forward to seeing the expansion of aquaculture and aquaponics as a result of this program.
Listed below are highlights of ABC-2 accomplishments in the past year:
a) 12 monthly informative educational modules and materials were developed and posted on the ABC-2 website based on 12 Intensive classes.
b) 4 Aquaculture workshops were offered for both the intensive and intermediate ABC students.
c) 1 Aquaculture Bus Tour was offered for introductory, intermediate and intensive ABC students.
d) 2 OAA-ABC Conferences were organized.
e) Several aquaculture/aquaponics newsletters and factsheets were published.
f) An informative ABC-2 website developed.
g) 2 students interested in aquaculture/aquaponics received an ABC-OAA internship and training.
h) A 6-month and 12-month evaluation data was collected using Wufoo (www.wufoo.com).
i) 27 new farmer students from ABC Intensive class graduated.
j) 200+ additional new/beginning farmers were trained and mentored through ABC Intermediate.
k) 949 additional new and beginning farmers were trained and mentored through ABC Introductory.
We have just started ABC-2 2018 Year-Class with 35 new students recruited for the Intensive class. The group consists of multiple educators, farmers, students, and community leaders. Our staff looks forward to working with this group throughout the year to prepare them for graduation in December of 2018.
For more information about the ABC Program, please contact Dr. Hanping Wang, ABC Program Director/Senior Scientist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ms. Jordan Maxwell, ABC Program Coordinator at email@example.com.