own a small (5 acre) farm in pa
want to start a micro leafy-green vegies/fresh water prawn
aquaponics unit by this spring - have contacts with a pa
university with an aquaculture program and also a 12k sq.ft.
commercial aquaponics unit attached to it. I am looking for
a good business plan
updated late march Business Plan 2010 Coastview Aquaponics Inc.pdf, 127 KB Manny here's a link to Chris's business plan, some great info and ideas here. I do respect anyone trying to start a business in a positive field.
Great discussion. Damon, you bring up many great points that are important considerations for a thorough business plan. Your experience gives you a unique incite on commercial aquaponics. The preparation of a BP forces you to look in depth at as many aspects of a business that you can conceive. Every BP has to be custom tailored for each farm and crops grown.
Seeing a link to my BP has reminded that I am WAY overdue updating it. I read somewhere that a BP should be updated every 6 months. My business has changed considerably from what I outlined in that plan.
thank you chris.
in my young age i've already managed 3 start up operations. my father is a "root cause analyst" for a large plastics corporation... so i've been bred from a young age to find problems and identify variables... lol it makes sneaking out of the house easier as well. lol.
you're right, every business needs a custom business plan, and when it comes to farming, i find that need even greater... most business are in a controlled environment... restaurants, shops, rentals... so that limits the amount of outside variables that could damage or harm a business... in farming you can't just hold a sale and expect revenue to increase... it doesn't quite work that way, lol.
also in an industry as young as AP there are still many uncharted variables that could increase profit margins and/ or productivity. this is another reason AP is struggling i think because the people with the funding to do the research are barking up the wrong tree and have been doing so for a long while now... what i'm getting at is the use of AP for primarily fish production... yes it is a sexier idea... but it hasnt really gone anywhere other than a break even business...
this is why im so perplexed at things like the fact that no one has done any research dealing with a minimum fish density... or the effects of outside food sources entering the systems... figuring out these things would directly effect the running costs of vegetable production... this is also where hydro is beating us... they know already what the lowest limits of mineral inputs are necessary to grow their plants...
this is why i push for a template with adjustable variables and different tiers of failure rates instead of a BP... i think a BP is a bit too rigid for as many variables that exist in AP... but then again... if you remove some of the variables, you're systems will be more reliable... the problem lies in finding cost effective ways to eliminate variables... soft structure hoop houses instead of glass and steel green houses... supplemental electric generation to help with heating and positioning your hoop houses to allow the prevailing winds to blow though naturally cooling your hoop houses.... the necessity of a green house vs. just putting up protective bug netting... and the list of possibilities goes on and on....
for every variable that needs to be addressed there seems to be many ways to address them...
Thanks for your positivity! I'm searching through the blogs in search of info to inform a business plan I'm trying to put together for an urban aquaponics venture, and come across so much useless and negative commentary. Just wanted to thank you! The AP path is unpaved, and it will take those willing and inspired enough to explore and pave the way for others.
Connie Christians said:
Manny- please keep your vision close. Reality is one thing, pessimism is another. Inspiration is truly underrated on this forum, which is surprising.There is still a lot left to learn and share and do with aquaponics.
I was a commercial horticulture grower in the upper Midwest for 20 years and I never had more than 30% failure annually across the board. My operation covered almost 3 acres. While there were challenges in weather, performance and markets- I learned and modified my activity to make it work. From that POV, I don't expect aquaponics to be different.
My main consideration was what my market wanted and my main operational costs were heating (I had to use propane) and labor. With proper planning, plant costs were actually minimal and losses were acceptable and expected. Pay attention to detail, stay closely involved and you will be able to make adjustments that will minimize your risk and costs.
The designs for aquaponics are new to a lot of folks- but the science and the marketplace is the same as it ever was. I've run numbers and projections for a commercial operation, and I remain encouraged that it is profitable. For me, the best part about aquaponics is not the potential for money, but the soulful impact it can make on suffering communities.
Examine and research as much as you can on your own. It is so true that every situation is different, but be true to yourself and stay inspired!