Belmont Harrison Joint Vocational School students Bryan Deoss; Kris Dennis; Zack Eckley; Kenny Ruckman; Dylan Leddy and Tyler Patterson assist, supervised by Robert Givens, instructor. Dr. Jim Brick, retired small animal practitioner consulting for Purina; Chuck Costic and Jeremy Gillian, students at Hocking College net bluegills for weighing and measuring as part of a fish farming experiment. NH Photo

FLUSHING – The Ag class of Harrison Career Center visited an experimental fish farm near Zion Retreat. Students assisted in netting 12 ponds and weighing and measuring 12 hundred hybrid bluegills to gage their growth.

“We’re trying to raise them to a half pound or greater for food consumption,” said Jim Wagner, owner of Fox Country Farms, who is using his property for the experiment. “We’re trying to determine which fish foods will produce the greatest return for the farmer.” Robert Givens, natural resources instructor at the vocational school, said the students were impressed by Wagner’s project and were learning a great deal about pond management.

“It’s the largest facility in Harrison County and one of the best in the state or tri-state area,” Wagner said. “This is the first of two experiments,” he said, with the second initiated next year while the first is ongoing. At that point they will know if their project is viable.

He said there are more than 200 potential sites where ponds could be installed on private land and the state has identified more than 2,000 sites in Eastern Ohio. “For every dollar you put in a community, it turns over seven times. Over the next 10 years Eastern Ohio could get an excess of $2 billion worth of economic activity,” said Wagner. For learn more about this new venture, see this weeks print edition of the Harrison News-Herald. NH Photos