Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) achievements and impacts 2016

By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist and Jordan Maxwell, Program Coordinator
 
After the successful completion of Aquaculture Boot Camp-1 (ABC-1), the South Centers aquaculture team, in collaboration with the business development and horticulture teams, and in partnership with the Ohio Aquaculture Association and the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, submitted an ABC-2 proposal in early 2016 and received an award of ~$600,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture in August 2016 to continue the ABC program. We are the first aquaculture unit in the U.S. to receive funding for this type of project from USDA. The ABC-2 program will utilize 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 and next generation farmers in the Midwest. A key addition to ABC-2 is the inclusion of aquaponics. This expansion is a direct result of strong interest from 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. The members of the OSU aquaculture team look forward to seeing the expansion of aquaculture and aquaponics in the region as a result of this program.
 
This past fall, we selected 33 highly motivated new (less than 5 years of farming experience) and beginning fish farmers and aquaponic producers from across Ohio and the Midwest, out of nearly 70 applicants for the ABC-2 Intensive Program. The year-long program consists of twelve monthly informative educational modules and materials in aquaculture production, and twelve monthly educational modules and materials in business and marketing.  The ABC-2 kickoff class was successfully held at OSU South Centers on January 14, 2017. The Ohio Aquaculture Association-Aquaculture Boot Camp Annual Aquaculture conference was held in Columbus on January 27-28, 2017. Approximately 140 aquaculture farmers attended the conference including 28 ABC-2 Intensive students. The ABC-2 students are being actively involved in aquaculture/aquaponics and are seriously dedicated to developing skills for entry into the industry.
 
Jordan Maxwell is the program coordinator for the ABC-2 program. She is coordinating, developing the training materials, and providing one-on-one support for ABC-2 participants. She will also be collecting data and writing project progress reports, publications, and news articles.
 
Ms. Maxwell received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fish Management from The University of Rio Grande, and also holds an Associate’s Degree in Wildlife Resources Management from Hocking College. She has teaching and coordination experience at Hocking College, and has aquaculture/hatchery experience at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Applegrove fish hatchery and the Hocking College fish hatchery. This experience is beneficial to her as she works to develop the ABC-2 programs and training activities.