A Farmer to Farmer Exchange Program to Support Innovation in Maine’s Aquaculture Sector

Lead PI: Chris Davis

PI Email: christopher.v.davis@gmail.com

Co-PI: Anne Langston Noll, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center

Project Team: Chris Davis & Anne Langston Noll, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center

Abstract: Small aquaculture businesses tend to operate using locally-derived processes and technologies, often without regard to practices conducted elsewhere, resulting in frequent “reinvention of the wheel”. An aquaculture-specific farmer-to-farmer exchange program would play a major role in the identification and adoption of proven production practices, farm management methodologies or tools for improving farm efficiencies, reducing bottlenecks, and increasing business success. A farmer-to-farmer exchange program would also nurture continuing professional development, skills acquisition, development of small business market networks, as well as innovation within Maine’s aquaculture sector. Maine farmers have identified development of a farmer-to-farmer networking program as an important need, in the most recent Maine aquaculture research, development, and education priorities survey conducted by Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center (MAIC, 2020). MAIC and Maine Sea Grant will develop and pilot a farmer-to-farmer exchange program to link Maine farmers in the U.S. The goal of this exchange program is to broaden the technology and knowledge base of the industry by exposing participants to the diversity of farming methods, management and technologies currently practiced nationally and/or internationally, therefore enabling continued learning, skills acquisition, and introduction to new practices, markets, and technology.. 12-15 exchange visits will be identified, coordinated and supported between Maine aquaculture farms, and farms elsewhere in the US or the world. Dissemination of knowledge gained from the exchange partnerships will be carried out by farmers. All exchange participants must be willing to document their exchange visit using photos, videos, blogs, and/or summary reports, and be willing to participate in workshops, deliver presentations and/or present seminars to share their acquired skills/innovations/knowledge with other farmers. Exchange participants will be asked to share experiences with the network of the Maine Aquaculture Hub, as part of a new farmer-orientated, webinar program. 

Project Dates: September 2022 – September 2023

Project Funding: Maine Aquaculture HUB