Overview of Aquaculture Extension’s last 5 months

By Matthew A. Smith, Aquaculture Extension Specialist 

As mentioned in the last Connections Newsletter, Matthew Smith (myself), recently joined Ohio State University as an Aquaculture Program Specialist. After only a few days in my office, I headed off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center’s (NCRAC) conference and the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association’s annual conference. Since starting with Ohio State, I have had the opportunity to join many committees, advisory councils, panels, and groups which all influence aquaculture production in Ohio. I look forward to representing Ohio State University at these meetings.

One of my favorite successes so far has been the development of Buckeye Aquafarming, a newsletter developed to inform fish farmers, Extension Educators, recreational pond owners, administrators, and legislators about timely aquaculture matters that pertain to Ohio. The first issue featured sustainable aquaponics, aquaculture marketing, and water quality, to name a few. The winter newsletter will include multiple agencies and universities to give Ohio a view of big-picture U.S. aquaculture!

Water quality management is one of the most important concepts to understand as a fish farmer and that is why on August 6th, 2016 the South Centers will be hosting a water quality workshop to teach those interested. The day will be long but worth it. Topics are diverse and include pond, aquaponic, and recirculating aquaculture system considerations. Limiting stress and fish losses to poor water quality helps put farmers in a better financial position through successful culture to the market date.

Understanding all aspects of an agriculture business is crucial to success, and that’s why I will be discussing a few topics at Farm Science Review this year. Topics include “Sustainable Aquaponics for the Hobbyist” at the Gwynn Conservation Center, “Aquaponics: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” at the Small Farm Center Tent, and “Aquaculture Opportunities for Ohio” at the Small Farm Center Building. for aquaponics education, we will also have a hobby-scale aquaponics display available throughout the Farm Science Review. With aquaponics being a “buzzword” it’s imperative to get out non-biased information to those interested in starting this type of venture.

Education and outreach both to potential and current farmers, as well as the general public has already been successful. Education during tours to administrators, 4-H members, Boy Scouts, middle schools, high schools, and other organizations is proving highly beneficial for the success of our program. Starting in September, the South Centers will be offering free tours of the aquaponics greenhouse and Ohio Center for Aquaculture and Research Development on the last Friday of every month. Interested parties can sign up on our website at http://southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture/extension.