A group of students at Kentucky State University is working on a project that could help small scale Kentucky farmers generate additional income. Farm ponds could prove to offer farmers more financial options.
Students at KSU are working on a raceway project. The group is using two 24 foot floating devices, each to produce catfish in one channel and lettuce or other greens in another. Graduate Student Christie Allen says the raceways should hold up during thunderstorms. "Most of the raceway is in the water and it's connected to the pond bottom and to this dock that we would build,” said Allen. “So, it should withstand the heavy rain."
Allen says if the project works well, the ultimate goal would be to see raceways in two ponds per county. She says her interest in the project is in helping farmers become more self-sustaining.
State Aquaculture Extension Specialist and KSU professor Bob Durborow says one farm will get the first raceway as part of this project. "That farmer can serve as a demonstration for other farmers, kind of a model type of example that other farmers can emulate and they too can make a profit based on this kind of system," said Durborow.
Durborow says over time, annual profits for farmers could reach $10,000. KSU and the University of Pikeville were both recently honored through the Alltech Innovation Competition program.