BFRDP Projects

Aquaculture Boot Camp - 2: Enhancing the sustainability of new and limited resource aquaculture/aquaponic farmers with innovative training
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $599,000
Grant Program: 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: HANPING WANG
Organization: The Ohio State University


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) is an extremely successful program. The long-term goal of the program is to utilize ā€œ3-Iā€ levels (Intensive, Intermediate, Introductory), 3 areas (aquaponics, aquaculture, and related business and marketing) and 3 types (hands-on, classroom/mentoring, and internet/webinar) of integrated training and multi-faceted approach, paired with mentoring of industry professionals and previous ABC graduates, to enhance the sustainability of limited-resource new and beginning aqua-farmers in the Midwest and Appalachian region. This has been accomplished through the development and delivery of a multi-phase ABC program in which new and limited-resource aquaculture/aquaponic farmers with different knowledge levels. The specific goals of the ABC program have been achieved through partnerships and collaborations of multiple nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs), as well as many aquaponics/aquaculture farms and several universities, led by The Ohio State University (OSU) and NGOs/CBOs/NGOs with expertise in new and beginning farmer training and outreach.  

For the ABC-1 project, forty-four new aqua-farms were created by the 2013 and 2014 ABC participates. For the ABC-2 project, forty-two new businesses/farms have been created by the 2017 - 2019 ABC-2 participates. For example, one of the ABC-1 Intensive graduates are now in his seventh year producing over 35,000 lbs fish/year with revenues of more than $125,000; a ABC-2 graduate has built an aquaculture facility that is able to produce 80,000 lbs of tilapia; another ABC-2 graduate is launching a commercial version of indoor shrimp farm in 2019 with a side of aquaponics; one of our ABC students has played important rales in developing Superior Fresh, a multimillion dollar fish farm and aquaponic greenhouse capable of producing 160,000 pounds of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout and up to 2 million pounds of varietal and leaf lettuce per year in Wisconsin.

The success of ABC can be attributed to the ā€œ3-Iā€ levels, 3 areas and 3 types of integrated training and multi-faceted approach. The unique Internship program that provides apprentice-type training opportunities for next generation aquaculture/aquaponic farmers also contributed the success. Because of the success of this arrangement, the ABC-3 model can be adapted to other regions and communities in the United States. This model could easily apply to other industries, for example, a Horticulture Boot Camp, where participants would choose a horticulture crop to learn about and conduct a pilot scale project in the future. 

Number of Participants: 1931


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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success