Southern Ohio Shrimp Project

Project Overview

FNC02-388
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2002: $4,579.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Polly Creech
Polly's Prawns

Commodities

  • Animals: fish

Practices

  • Animal Production: general animal production
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, agricultural finance, market study
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, social networks, sustainability measures

    Summary:

    PROJECT BACKGROUND
    My farm operation, located in rural southeastern Ohio, was a cattle farm for many decades. By the time I purchased the original farmhouse and outbuilding located on five acres, there was one five acre lot adjoining my farm left from the subdivision of the original farm’s acreage. I purchased the additional five acres and began developing Polly’s Flower Farm.

    Prior to receiving the SARE grant, Polly’s Flower Farm operation consisted of growing fresh cut and dried flowers. Fresh cut flowers were sold as bouquets at farmer’s markets and as bunches to retail florists. Dried flowers were used to create value added products for fall and winter markets by making wreaths and other dried products. With a one person operation and approximately one third acre in production, I began to research other potential products for my farm.

    Before receiving the SARE grant, I was committed to operating without the use of pesticides or herbicides unless they were approved for organic agricultural use. I mulched with organic matter and composted everything imaginable. However, I was using a public water system to water my crops and I was using both organic and chemical fertilizers. I used the words “sustainable” with regard to my agricultural practices and I thought I had a thorough understanding of the concept. However, after finding out about the SARE grant program and reading information on the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education website, I realized that the concept encompassed much more than actual farming practices.

    PROEJCT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
    Below is a list of the projects goals as identified in the grant application and a brief discussion of how they were achieved.

    1) To increase the sustainability of my farm by adapting an abandoned livestock pond into a shrimp growing demonstration project.

    The freshwater shrimp pond was successfully constructed approximately fifty feet from the original planned location. This turned out to be helpful because when the pond was drained for harvest the abandoned livestock pond served as a buffer for runoff water. While the pond was expensive in construct, in the long run it will make my farm more sustainable.

    2) To study the applicability of freshwater shrimp production research in Kentucky and other states to my southern Ohio farm.

    The freshwater shrimp production research from Kentucky did apply to my farm in southern Ohio. I had the privilege to work with Laura Tiu, aquaculture specialist, who before coming to southern Ohio to work, had worked at Kentucky State University aquaculture research center for seven years. She brought with her a wealth of experience and knowledge about growing freshwater shrimp.

    3) To research marketing opportunities and develop marketing strategies for profitable shrimp growing in southern Ohio.

    I researched several marketing options including selling to restaurants, processing the shrimp in an FDA approved facility and selling them as a packaged product and processing them and selling them at a local festival. Ultimately, farm market customers began asking me to take pre paid orders in early August. It soon became obvious that the demand was greater than the supply and that I would be able to sell my entire harvest at the farmers market live on the day after harvest.

    4) To evaluate and share through outreach the potential of freshwater shrimp as a sustainable cash crop for southern Ohio farmers.

    My shrimp harvest was good for a first year pond, but it was not great. Research indicates that as a new pond matures the poundage harvested and the survival rate increases. If this proves to be true with my pond, then I will be able to say that freshwater shrimp are a sustainable crop for southern Ohio farms. The Southern Shrimp Team experienced problems with the juvenile shrimp in 2003 that we believe negatively impacted the harvest.

    Process:
    The process began with my reading an article in the newspaper written by the local extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. He requested for persons interested in participating in a freshwater shrimp growing demonstration project to call him. Since I had been researching other small acreage crops for my farm and had not made a final decision, I called. During a field visit to assess the appropriateness of my farm for participation in the freshwater shrimp growing demonstration project, I learned that my farm met all the major requirements.

    Shortly thereafter, when I was taking a class called “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity”, I learned about SARE Producer Grants. I began attending shrimp growing workshops, ordered the freshwater shrimp research package from Kentucky State University, and started doing research on the internet. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with the idea of growing freshwater shrimp. I’m grateful that I didn’t know how much I didn’t know because I wouldn’t have had the courage to tackle this project. After learning that my SARE Grant application had been approved for funding, I began looking for an excavator. This search led to finding a farmer who had once lived in my little farming community who was now doing excavation work. Pretty soon he was hauling heavy equipment to my farm and the outline of the pond began to take shape.

    Word spread in the community and the excavator’s old farming buddies started stopping by to watch the progress. They weren’t too sure about me and they darned sure weren’t too sure about what I said I was about to grow; however, a sense of community began to develop all the same. Two wonderful gentlemen both in their late 70’s took me under their wing and stopped by regularly to see if I needed any help. It was both fun and interesting to learn about the history of my farm from farmers who had actually helped work the land decades earlier. Feeling connected to the sense of history in this small farming community has been the biggest reward of doing this project. No amount of profit could have brought this feeling of support.

    This wasn’t a pond that got built in three to for days. Work went on for several weeks. The weather started to turn cold and wet and then the ground froze. Progress was halted until spring. As I walked my dogs and looked at this big muddy hole in the ground, I longed for spring to come so that work could once again resume on my shrimp pond. I must admit that I also wondered if I had taken on more than I could handle.

    Come spring the heavy equipment returned and my stress level climbed. I explained at least twenty times why the pond needed to be constructed exactly as I said. Then the excavator and the consultant would ask me questions using terms I had never heard of before and I would go through the explanation all over again. It seemed that only I could visualize an oblong pond going from shallow to deep with an external harvesting system located at the deepest point in the pond. I finally succeeded in getting a ten inch drain pipe installed in the deepest place in the pond with all bottom soil angled toward this drain. They argued that a ten inch drain pipe was too big and that I only needed a six inch drain pipe. After speaking with Bobby Boyd who had ten external harvest shrimp ponds in Illinois they believed me. The drain pipe ran under the dam and out the other side just above a concrete basin that is 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and three feet deep. This basin, I explained to everyone, is where the shrimp will be harvested.

    I didn’t know yet how I was going to plug my ten inch drain pipe during the growing season. I hadn’t considered this when I wrote the grant; therefore, I had not included it in the budget. Much to my dismay, the cheapest valve for a ten inch drain pipe cost $450.00. So that was out of the question. After talking to Bobby Boyd again, I decided to use his method of an open end pipe glued on the outside end of the drain pipe and a five gallon bucket placed over the inside of the drain pipe. I ordered the end pipe and weeks passed, but it did not show up. Where was it coming from anyway – China? I called each week to see if it was in, they offered up various excuses but no end pipe. It was time to start filling the pond and still no end pipe.

    So, I went to put a bucket over the drainpipe on the inside of the pond, but it wouldn’t go on without hitting the dirt on the bottom of the pond. Why not just put it in the pipe I thought, it couldn’t be that hard to get out. So I stuck the bucket into the drain pipe, it seemed like a pretty tight fit, so I left it there. It rained a lot that night and the pond held water. I would hook a rope to it the next day I told myself and if need be, we would pull it out with the tractor at harvest time. Well, it poured the rain for the next week and the bucket disappeared. Yes, I must admit that I forgot to tie a rope to it. My thoughts turned to other things – like where is the end pipe and when are the shrimp coming. With no end pipe in sight, a farmer down the road came up with an external drain plug design. He found someone to make and install it. It worked, but an end pipe would have been a lot easier and cheaper – it finally arrived two weeks later.

    In the meantime, I had had a soil test, had the pond limed appropriately, had a snapping turtle fence put up, seeded and hayed around the pond site and fertilized the pond. If it would grow alfalfa it would grow shrimp, I had been told. 220 electrical service had been installed in the barn to run the aerator that I had been told would run on 120 service. The barn’s gutters had been replaced and hooked together across the back to flow into one downspout that flowed into the pond so I would have a way to help fill the pond and then recharge the pond during the summer. The drilled well I planned to tap for this purpose was not a reliable source of water in the summer I had learned from the farmer down the road. The aerator had been installed and tested. Now we were waiting for the water to warm up. Little did I know that it was going to be the coldest and wettest summer in recorded weather in southern Ohio.

    Finally, two weeks later than planned the water was warm enough and the juvenile shrimp arrived on the shrimp truck and were placed in the pond. The extension agent kept asking me if the pond “had taken on a bloom yet”. I kept saying no because I didn’t see any blooms – I grow flowers, flower bloom – I didn’t see any blooms on my pond. I finally asked him what color the blooms would be and he said that he would come out to check for himself. Yes, indeed my pond did have a great green bloom. Why didn’t he just ask me if the water was green? My learning process continued.

    During the first two weeks, the shrimp ate the pond’s bloom. Then the routine of feeding the shrimp every evening began. Since the pond was round instead of oblong, the food had to be distributed in a rubber raft because it couldn’t be thrown far enough from the bank to reach the middle of the pond. I established the routine of taking the water and air temperatures and the pH and the dissolved oxygen level of the water every morning and every evening. This data was collected throughout the season and proved to be very useful in helping me to identify potentially harmful trends and thus take preventive measures.

    Staff from Hocking College’s hatchery did a test seine of my pond about six weeks into the growing season and indeed I did have healthy growing shrimp. We started calling it faith farming because shrimp are bottom dwellers and you never see them unless something is wrong. I kept feeding them and about six weeks later, we did another test seine. They continued to grow on schedule and appeared to be healthy. Ten days before the final harvest Hocking College staff seined out five pounds of shrimp for samples at the Jambalaya Jam.

    The day before harvest a small crew of people showed up and we began trying to get the bucket out of the inside drain pipe. It was not as easy as anticipated. The handle broke so we couldn’t pull it out with the tractor as planned. I eventually had to admit that I had stuck it into the drain pipe not over the drain pipe. Efforts continued until all involved were cold and exhausted. By night fall, my seven foot two inch neighbor was finally able to knock a whole in the bucket and a trickle began to flow. We suspended a sump pump in the snapping turtle trap and began pumping. By midnight, the pond had gone down about 1 inch. At this rate we would be able to harvest in about two weeks. Tomorrow was going to be interesting. I hate to admit in writing, but we even tried to shoot holes in the bucket with a rifle from the external side of the sixty foot drain pipe.

    Come next morning I was full of energy and had new ideas for dislodging the bucket. I called a neighbor, Rudy Baumgartel who was also a landscaper. He was providing a 1000 gallon tank to fill with pond water to flush the drain pipe of shrimp once the pond was empty. Indeed he did have 60 feet of metal pipe that could be connected together and used to push the bucket out of the drain pipe. It wasn’t exactly that simple and it didn’t happen in one piece, but it finally worked. Lloyd Wright, director of Hocking College’s Aquaculture Program, had the astuteness to realize that here was still a piece of bucket caught in the drain pipe because of his experience with how much water should be flowing through a ten inch drain pipe. He was right and once the bucket was completely removed the water really began to flow.

    While this was happening, news reporters, photographers and a local television crew arrived. Then other people started to show up. Friends, neighbors, farmers from around the community, teachers, potential shrimp growers, staff and students from Hocking College, extension personnel, volunteers wanting to help in any way they could expecting nothing in return. Some people watched, but most people helped with the harvest. People were wet, muddy and smiling that I had never even met before. I finally understood what sustainable farming communities were really about. This was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding days of my life.

    Now we were at a pivotal moment. Was my harvesting system going to function as I believed it would? Indeed only a few stray shrimp were coming through as the pond drained. We set up seine nets to catch those that did come through. As the pond got lower and lower the shrimp started to flow through the drain pipe to the external basin in large numbers. We began catching them in baskets and then handing them off to others to transport to aerated holding tanks. During this process shrimp were being weighed and counted. Finally, the few remaining shrimp, only 30 or 40 were retrieved from the bottom of the drained pond, the drain pipe was flushed and the harvest basin was emptied. The harvesting system was a great success with very little mucking around in the drained pond to harvest shrimp.

    At his point the final count and poundage were calculated. A total of 127 pounds were harvested with an average weight of 0.99 ounces. This amounted to a harvest of approximately 2053 shrimp. This indicated a survival rate of approximately 38 percent. While I was pleased with the average size of my shrimp, the survival rate was disappointing. I was going to have some unhappy customers because I would not be able to fill all of the orders. Someone reminded me that this was a good problem.

    The shrimp were kept alive overnight and delivered to the farmers market the next morning in an aerated tank on the back of a pickup truck. Within one hour, they were weighed out, iced down and sold to a long line of people waiting in the rain. Safe handling procedures and recipes were distributed with the shrimp. As the supply dwindled, people who had ordered three pounds offered to take one pound so that others in line behind them could try the shrimp. There were a few tense moments, but sharing prevailed and most prepaid customers who showed up early that morning got shrimp. The most frequently asked question was, “You’re going to do this again next year, aren’t year?” I smiled and said, “Yes I definitely will do it again next year!”

    People:
    Nathan Hague assisted me by providing a site visit of his freshwater shrimp growing pond with emphasis on how his external harvesting system functioned. I had participated in an internal harvest at the South Centers Aquaculture Research Facility in Piketon, Ohio and it was very labor intensive. Shortly after this visit, Ken Schneider, North Central SARE Coordinator, told me about Bobby Boyd’s freshwater shrimp operation in Illinois. Mr. Boyd was very helpful by sharing in detail on several occasions how his external harvest system functioned. One of the most important things I learned from him was to install a ten inch rather than a six inch external drain pipe. The purpose of the ten inch pipe being that as the pond matures and the shrimp grow larger they will no longer pass through the six inch pipe without getting damaged or being killed. Jim Watchel, construction consultant, helped by choosing the location for the pond after I discovered that the original location did not have an adequate clay base. He also provided surveying services and worked with Richard Brown, the heavy equipment operator, to coordinate the construction of the pond and the design of the external harvest system. Mr. Brown worked tirelessly on constructing the pond despite the fact that he unearthed the remains of a collapsed barn, was rained on, snowed on and had a knack for locating yet another underground spring.

    My dear friend Brian Blair waded barefoot (waders we did not have) in knee deep ice cold water to help me set up a sump pump so that the site would drain and construction work could continue. Mr. Blair and my neighbor, Jason Terry, worked tirelessly to get the bucket out of the inside drain pipe. My neighbor, Don Evans, sold me a slice of his land when the design of the pond had to be altered due to unexpected construction problems. The same neighbor gave me a poured concrete structure to use for my external harvest basin in exchange for fill dirt from the pond site.

    From answering my frantic phone calls when my dissolved oxygen level was too low to telling me what to do when my pH was too high, Lloyd Wright, director of the Hocking College Aquaculture Program and his students and work crew from the Lake Snowden Hatchery helped me in numerous ways. Not only did they provide factual information on how to solve my problems, but they also reassured me that I could complete this project successfully. When they found out that I didn’t have a seine net, they brought their equipment to my pond and did a test seine to make sure my shrimp were alive and healthy. They retuned six weeks later and seined again so I would know the status of my crop. They arrived bright and early on harvest day with harvesting baskets, nets, scales, cleaning tanks, portable aerators and a holding tank on the back of a pick up truck to hold and haul my shrimp to market the next day. They arrived at the farmers market the next morning with my shrimp, ice, scales and a table and helped me until my crop was sold. They provided unending knowledgeable, friendly and encouraging support. To say that this project would not have been possible without them is an understatement.

    The soil and water conservation district helped by performing initial soil tests to determine if the clay base needed was present. They also provided a woefully inadequate estimate for the costs of pond construction. For this I thank them because if I had known the actual cost of construction, I would not have embarked upon this very rewarding project. I learned a good lesson from this experience; always go straight to the heavy equipment contractor for a pond construction estimate.

    Athens County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Rory Lewandowski, and the Pike County Extension Service Aquaculture Specialist, Laura Tiu, answered endless questions, provided non-stop services and guided me through the entire process. Their coordination of the Southern Ohio Shrimp Team included providing educational seminars, writing a grant to provide participants with aerators, ordering bulk quantities of food to receive discounted prices, ordering and assisting with delivery of juvenile shrimp. They also assisted with pond design, construction and maintenance questions, collected soil and water samples for testing, assisted with planning and conducting field days and participated in the harvest. This project would not have been possible without their support. It was Mr. Lewandowski who wrote the original “freshwater shrimp growers wanted” article in the newspaper that caught my attention and resulted in me writing a SARE grant proposal.

    Rudy Baumgartel owner of Albany Nursery Company loaned me a 1000 gallon tank, a pump to fill it with, a 300 gallon tank and 60 foot of metal pipe to dislodge the bucket from the drain pipe. Christina Deshaies of Thyme and Again Gardening provided a crew of three of the hardest working gals I have ever seen. I know who I’ll call next year when shrimp harvest time roles around.

    Leslie Schaller, of ACENet Food Ventures helped me with publicity by emailing press releases on my behalf and making a Farm Tour marketing card for me free of charge. She helped to write a grant that provided funding for the first ever Jambalaya Jam to celebrate the shrimp harvest in southern Ohio. She also provided calm and reassuring support when I was stressing out about whatever it was that I was stressing out about at the moment.

    Discussion:
    I learned a multitude of things from this grant. Primarily, I learned that it took a community to grow, harvest, market and sell freshwater shrimp. I provided the physical location, wrote the grant and then started asking for help. If I recorded everything that I learned from this grant, this report would turn into a book. Briefly, I learned about pond site selection, soil sampling, pond design and construction, surveying, pond soil testing and liming, and fertilizing ponds with organic substances such as old hay, alfalfa pellets and soybean meal. I also learned how to collect and test water samples for a variety of substances. I learned the importance of testing the dissolved oxygen level and pH of the water each morning and each evening. I learned to test for alkalinity, ammonia, carbon dioxide, nitrites, chloride, and total hardness weekly to biweekly basis because they are more stable. Not only did I learn the proper levels of these substances, but I also learned to add fertilizer when the dissolved oxygen level was too low and to add sugar when the pH was too high. I learned that it took several days for the dissolved oxygen level to normalize, but that it took only several hours for the pH to return to normal. I learned how slowly the water temperature changes in relationship to the air temperature. I also learned that it was impossible for me to conduct these tests at the same time each day due to other farm responsibilities and that a range was acceptable.

    I learned what juvenile shrimp look like, how they are stocked and when, how and how much to feed them. I learned about safe handling procedures for shrimp. I learned that when your pond turns out to be round instead of oblong that you have to get in a rubber raft with five gallon buckets of food and paddle yourself about the pond to guarantee that the food is getting evenly disbursed. I learned that what started out as a chore became an evening ritual that was quite relaxing even when I was exhausted.

    I learned that my external harvesting system worked exceptionally well leaving only a few shrimp in the pond once it was fully drained. I learned that the way I plugged the internal end of my drain pipe was an unbelievable hassle to get unplugged and that what can be done easily before the pond is filled is enormously difficult to do when you are trying to do it underwater. In short, I learned not to stick a bucket into the end of the drain pipe. Next season I will install a stand pipe to drain the pond.

    Affect on farm operation:
    This grant has affected my farm operation by helping me to diversify by adding a new small acreage niche crop to my farm’s production schedule. Because my farm was one of the first in southern Ohio to offer freshwater shrimp, I was able to sell my shrimp whole and unprocessed at $12.00 per pound. I believe that by solving the problems associated with the juvenile shrimp delivery, that the effect on my farm operation will be even more positive next year. This solution, along with the fact that my pond will be mature each year should contribute to increasingly larger harvest and more cash receipts for several years to come.

    Overcoming Barriers:
    My identified problem was the struggle for survival of small acreage farm in southern Ohio. Between 1950 and 1997, 52% of southern Ohio farm land was converted to other uses. During this same period, southern Ohio farmers experienced disproportionately low cash receipts when compared to statewide farm cash receipts (Ohio Department of Agriculture’s 2000 Annual Report). While there are distinct risks involved with growing freshwater shrimp, I believe that shrimp can become a high end, small acreage, niche crop for southern Ohio farmers. Based on my projections it will take seven years to recoup my initial cash investment for initiating this project. During those seven years I will have additional cash flow during late summer from approximately $350 the second year to approximately $3000 the tenth year. These calculations are based on several variables, each of which could fluctuate from year to year, causing the bottom line to change considerably. I plan to grow freshwater shrimp again next year and to research ways to increase the bottom line.

    Advantages: The advantages of growing freshwater shrimp are that they are rare in my geographical area, delicious and in demand at $12.00 per pound. Because they are an unusual crop, they brought a lot of publicity to my farm. They brought cash flow in late summer and there is already a demand for them next year. For someone who owns heavy equipment or has inexpensive access to it, building a shrimp growing pond would be much more reasonable.

    Disadvantages: the main disadvantage is the upfront expense involved in building a pond specifically for growing freshwater shrimp. Already established farm ponds are usually too deep, difficult to drain for harvest, the slope of the sides are not steep enough to deter predators and the ponds are usually already stocked with fish that are natural predators to shrimp. To make the decision to invest several thousand dollars (refer to budget for details) to build a shrimp growing pond, one has to be wiling to take the risk of losing the investment completely and commit to growing shrimp for at least six or seven years just to regain the original investment.

    Recommendations to producers: I would tell other producers to make sure that their supplier of juvenile shrimp has a proven history of providing both a high quality and consistent quantity of juvenile shrimp. Without healthy juveniles, no amount of attention to detail can produce a good crop of adult shrimp. I would also advise that the producer take the dissolved oxygen level and the pH of the pond water both morning and evening. By performing these tests on a regular basis, I was able to correct two harmful trends before they moved into the dangerous range. While other pond characteristics tended to remain stable, these two levels changed rapidly several times and required corrective action.

    OUTREACH
    I used a variety of methods to tell others about my project, its events and the results including newspapers, television, farmers market display, farm tours, photo album, flyers and cards, group emails and list serves.

    I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter for a “Your Neighbors” column in early July 2003 shortly after the juvenile shrimp were stocked in the pond. This interview resulted in a front page picture and an inside picture and article highlighting my flower and shrimp crops, and my receipt of a SARE grant in the July 21, 2003 edition of The Athens Messenger. I enlarged and laminated this article and several pictures of shrimp in various stages of development and displayed them in my farmer’s market stand where I sold my fresh flowers. This publicity resulted in numerous opportunities to answer questions and discuss my shrimp growing project with both vendors and customers alike. Each week I provided information at my farm market stand and supplemented my display with informative posters about shrimp and the upcoming harvest. In early August, I began taking pre-paid shrimp orders at customer’s progress.

    The next newspaper article on August 11, 2003, announced the celebration of Southeast Ohio’s freshwater shrimp harvest with the first ever Jambalaya Jam. This event was being organized and sponsored by Appalachian Centers for Economic Networks, Inc. (ACENet) a regional organization based in Athens, Ohio, that supports the development of food based ventures. The events web site at www.jambalayajam.com communicated a complete schedule of events including a tour of my flower and shrimp farm on September 13, 2003. This tour resulted in about twenty people touring the farm.

    On August 24, 2003 I hosted a farm tour highlighting both my flower and shrimp crops in conjunction with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and the Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO). The tour received state wide coverage in a newsletter to all members of OEFFA and IFO. To publicize this event outside of the organizations memberships, I used word of mouth, cards that I handed out at the farmer’s market, flyers that I handed out at the farmers market and hand delivered to my neighbors. This event was also publicized in local newspapers in an article by the local extension agent and I also emailed the Athens Master Gardeners and the Ohio Aquaculture Association list serves. The local high school future farmers association was also invited. It was publicized on the radio by the extension agent in his weekly radio show. This event was a tremendous success. I thought I had adequately prepared for the event but I was overwhelmed by the turnout. Ninety to one hundred people attended the event, some driving four hours or more to get to my farm. My large collection of eclectic chairs was soon full and I was rounding up five gallon flower harvesting buckets for people to sit on. Soon I was out of buckets and people were still showing up. This event was documented by another front page picture on August 25, 2003 in The Athens Messenger. While the newspaper picture is of the flower garden tour, the majority of people who attended participated in the shrimp pond portion of the tour.

    On August 28, 2003 another local newspaper, The Athens New, took an interest in my project and published a front page picture and an inside picture and article about my flower and shrimp growing activities. As the Jambalaya Jam and the shrimp harvest grew near, newspaper coverage continued with articles about the Jam and the upcoming harvest. I didn’t have to do any paid advertising because the project was being so well publicized that it was not necessary to advertise.

    Since Hocking College’s Lake Snowden Hatchery was also growing freshwater shrimp, Lloyd Wright, aquaculture program director and I decided to harvest and market his shrimp during the third week of September and to harvest and market mine the following week. I would help him with his harvest by providing myself and two other people on harvest day and I would help him with marketing by advertising his harvest date at the farmers market and taking pre-paid orders for him and he would help me with harvesting and getting my shrimp to market.

    On September 21, 2003, The Athens Messenger ran a front page picture and article about the Hocking College shrimp harvest. This article was invaluable to me because it provided free front page advertising that my shrimp would be harvested the following Friday and sold the following Saturday at the Athens Farmers Market. My harvest occurred on September 26, 2003 and was documented in The Post and The Columbus Dispatch. The Post carried a front page picture and an article about the harvest on September 29, 2003 and the Columbus Dispatch did an article and pictures on the front page of the Metro & State section of the paper on September 30, 2003. WOUB TV a local television station, carried footage of the harvest.

    I plan to write an article for submission to the OEFFA and the IFO and offer to conduct a workshop at their next annual conference. Results will be shared at a follow up meeting coordinated by the extension service for persons interested in potentially pursuing freshwater shrimp farming.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.