Aquaponic Gardening

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We're about to start building our system over the next week or so. We would like to sell our extra produce and fish to the public and restaurants do we need USDA approval or anything like that?

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If you want to call your produce "organic" then you must get certified which is hard with aquaponics (b/c no soil and waste treatment can be an issue too). If you do not want to claim organic, and simply want to sell, then I would check your state regulations.

I was upset to hear about the organic thing but now you've got me thinking about what I need to do in order to simply sell produce and will have to do some research later. I would suspect you might be subject to health inspections ect. hopefully someone will shed some light on this..

Thanks so far I called my county extension office and they had no idea what aquaponics was. Once I explained it they referred me to 4 other people in the end no info. I called the nc USDA office which sent me to a local USDA office who had no idea what aquaponics was and said in the end that I might need to get a permit To sell but not sure from who. So I have sent an email to our state agriculture aquaculture department. So maybe just maybe I can get an answer. Didn't know the organic info so thank you for that.

I'm not sure about North Carolina, but here in Illinois, if you want to do any form of aquaculture, you need a permit. If you are raising something that is not on the approved species list (aquatic life that is native to Illinois) then you need an inspection by the Department Of Natural Resources. I'm not planning on selling any produce with my current system, but I still needed that permit to raise tilapia. Check with your DNR for a permit application.

Thanks Alex I contacted our wildlife division earlier this week and I also need a permit befoRe I can get tilapia in our farm. We also need a peRmit for using the fish water on our plants that comes from the agriculture dept.thankfully both are good for 5 years and are free but apparently you have to have both to do aquaponics in nc for personal or commercial use. So paperwork will be sent in Monday and we can sell produce and fish after inspection and approval of permits. We're excited!!!
Joseph, I'd really like to hear how the permitting process goes. Keep us informed.

I have had a similar experience to others in this discussion...many contacts with little insight or understanding by the USDA or state affiliates as to the whats or hows. I did manage to find a link to a WI publication that may help a bit. It at least offers some guidance; http://mosesorganic.org/attachments/productioninfo/08wimarketguide.pdf. It was also suggested I speak with my state's food scientist. If I was not able to get guidance from that individual, the suggestion was to speak with the local heath inspection person. Good luck! I hope this helps!

That's not too bad. In Illinois, you need renewal every year, plus a $50 permit fee, although we did just gain status as worst state ever :) http://wgntv.com/2013/01/26/illinois-credit-rating-downgraded-state...

It took me 8 weeks from the time I sent in the application to the time I received my permit, so be prepared for it to take a while.
Joseph zamora said:

Thanks Alex I contacted our wildlife division earlier this week and I also need a permit befoRe I can get tilapia in our farm. We also need a peRmit for using the fish water on our plants that comes from the agriculture dept.thankfully both are good for 5 years and are free but apparently you have to have both to do aquaponics in nc for personal or commercial use. So paperwork will be sent in Monday and we can sell produce and fish after inspection and approval of permits. We're excited!!!

OK so here is the update as of today.

I live like 200yards from the inter coastal waterway, I have cattle fencing around my property (8acres) and the fish will be inside the greenhouse, inside ibc tanks, with a mesh and window acting as a lid. However my application was about to be denied if I wanted to request to posses Blue tilapia. The wildlife biologist explained that they would be worried about a bird grabbing a blue, taking it over a waterway and releasing it, because they are such a tough fish they are worried about it destroying the ecosystem. Umm I was a little confused on a freshwater fish adapting to saltwater and regardless of water temp surviving. However he did explain that if I wanted blue's that the process might take a lot longer (who has time for that).

So after explaining to him that I was a former LEO for the state as well and telling a few war stories back and forth I found out that I can get a nile tilapia permit rather quickly. So nile it is!!! Sent my paperwork in today via e-mail and a wildlife officer about 2 hours away will either call and do a telephone interview or come by and do an inspection of my facility.  Since my application is free and good for 5 years I could either update my application as I expanded my operation or I could do an estimated growth and use the same permit for the 5 years. I went with an estimated growth just seemed like less work.

I also called back to the Agriculture Aquaculture division and let them know that i mailed my permit in today. I requested to go ahead and stock one tank with channel catfish since it was on the approved list. He let me know that since it is approved I could go ahead and stock the tank with them but I could not sell fish or produce until I got his permit back at the end of next week. (umm I know aquaponics is quick but I don't think I will be selling anything next week lol) He also let me know that I can only stock tilapia when the Wildlife office approves my tilapia permit and not before.

This is a little more work then I expected. But I would rather do the leg work now instead of getting fined later....

Thanks for the update Joseph.  I hope the California DFG is as friendly...

They were worried about a bird...grabbing a fish... and dropping it into the lake...where MAYBE it would survive the stress and wounds of almost being eaten? And THEN somehow survive the winter and propagate? I didn't realize nature believed in catch-and-release.That sounds like the Rube Goldberg approach to environmental disaster :)

Joseph zamora said:

OK so here is the update as of today.

I live like 200yards from the inter coastal waterway, I have cattle fencing around my property (8acres) and the fish will be inside the greenhouse, inside ibc tanks, with a mesh and window acting as a lid. However my application was about to be denied if I wanted to request to posses Blue tilapia. The wildlife biologist explained that they would be worried about a bird grabbing a blue, taking it over a waterway and releasing it, because they are such a tough fish they are worried about it destroying the ecosystem. Umm I was a little confused on a freshwater fish adapting to saltwater and regardless of water temp surviving. However he did explain that if I wanted blue's that the process might take a lot longer (who has time for that).

So after explaining to him that I was a former LEO for the state as well and telling a few war stories back and forth I found out that I can get a nile tilapia permit rather quickly. So nile it is!!! Sent my paperwork in today via e-mail and a wildlife officer about 2 hours away will either call and do a telephone interview or come by and do an inspection of my facility.  Since my application is free and good for 5 years I could either update my application as I expanded my operation or I could do an estimated growth and use the same permit for the 5 years. I went with an estimated growth just seemed like less work.

I also called back to the Agriculture Aquaculture division and let them know that i mailed my permit in today. I requested to go ahead and stock one tank with channel catfish since it was on the approved list. He let me know that since it is approved I could go ahead and stock the tank with them but I could not sell fish or produce until I got his permit back at the end of next week. (umm I know aquaponics is quick but I don't think I will be selling anything next week lol) He also let me know that I can only stock tilapia when the Wildlife office approves my tilapia permit and not before.

This is a little more work then I expected. But I would rather do the leg work now instead of getting fined later....

Im with ya alex!

Progress as of tonight

and apparently this file uploaded upside down lol

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