Friday, July 9, 2010

Get the Facts on Starting an Aquaculture Business at an Ohio Fish Farm Tour

Source: OSU Extension

WOOSTER, Ohio – Anyone interested in starting an aquaculture business, or perhaps expanding an existing one, has the opportunity to participate in a tour of fish farms throughout northeast Ohio on July 16.

Ohio State University’s South Centers at Piketon and Ohio Soybean Council will sponsor the event, which runs from 7:45 a.m. until 6 p.m. The cost is $20 per person.

The Northeast Ohio Fish Farm Tour will feature stops at Scales to Tails, Laurel Creek Fin Farm, Raber’s Fish Farm, Fender’s Fish Hatchery, and Blue Ribbon Fish Farm. Participants will meet at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Fisher Auditorium at 7:45 a.m. before departing on the tour. The tour is schedule to arrive back at OARDC around 6 p.m. OARDC is located at 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, Ohio.

Scales to Tails Seafood Shoppe sells live fish and fresh filets. The shop also boasts a large processing facility. Owners Dave and Wendy Lemke also raise tilapia, yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass. Learn what it takes to raise, process and sell farm-raised fish at a retail market.

Laurel Creek Fin Farm, operated by Chuck Jolley, raises bluegill and largemouth bass for food fish on his lot of three ponds. The unique record system kept at this farm provides the information to chart feeding behaviors at various times throughout the season and helps to prevent wasting feed.

Raber’s Fish Farm is an Amish farm that raises fish and operates a catering business. This stop will include lunch at the catering facility.

Fender’s Fish Hatchery has been in business over 50 years. This farm utilizes ponds that stretch across three counties. The farm sets aside 13-14 broodstock ponds with 20-30 ponds in production throughout the season. See what it takes to operate a large-scale fish farming operation.

Blue Ribbon Fish Farm has been in the fish business 22 years. Co-owners Rich and Chuck Georgeone are active in the Fish Farmers of Ohio Association, and their business serves as a hub for the organization. Their processing facility has been in operation for over a year and runs enough farm-raised fish to handle supplies for local restaurants.

An additional program on July 17 will cover the economics of fish production: how to get money for aquaculture, how to make money and how to keep it. The program will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at OARDC’s Fisher Auditorium. The cost is $25 per person received by July 14 or $30 at the door.

Representatives from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, USDA Farm Service Agency and Ohio State University will educate participants on where to get grants, low-interest loans and other financing options for their aquaculture business. Farmers from around the state will share information on what is needed to make fish farming profitable. In addition, participants will learn how to develop a solid investment plan from investment experts.

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