David Smith showcases his fish fillets in his on-farm retail outlet. Locally made cheese, snacks and pond and water garden supplies can also be found in the retail store.

Fish Farming Spreads Its Fins in Ohio

Academic Content Standard
(Career Field Technical: Agriculture & Business Operations 3.1-3.3:  High School): “Learners apply principles of economics, business management and marketing in both an entrepreneur/manager and an employee role to the leadership, planning, developing and analyzing of business enterprises related to agriculture, food and natural resources.”

(Note: Key terms used from the Ohio Career Field Technical Content Standards, September 2008.)

Discussion points

  1. In what business is Dr. David Smith an expert?
  2. According to the article, what is his educational background? How many years did Dr. Smith dedicate to his education in order to run a successful business?
  3. Why did it make good business sense to operate the fish farm in Urbana, Ohio? (Proximity to customers, opportunity to purchase land/buildings)
  4. According to the article, Dr. Dave’s goal was to raise fish economically.  Did he achieve that goal?  Explain.
  5. How did Dr. Dave “research product and service designs, and determine the technical feasibility of new products” for his aquaculture business?
  6. Would you agree that Dr. Dave’s market research, pricing and distribution plans were successful given the data shared in the article?
  7. How does the owner diversify his products for customer satisfaction?
    What other things does he sell?
  8. The article states that Freshwater Farms started selling wholesale to restaurants.  Now the company is 100% retail. Please explain what this means.
  9. Does the company make more profit selling wholesale or retail?
  10. Another aspect of this business is agritourism. Please explain what this is and how it diversifies the business at Freshwater Farms.
  11. What festival does this business host that brings more customers to the farm? (Could this be defined as public relations?)
  12. What data does this article share that support the statement by the president of Fish Farmers of Ohio Association, “I believe the industry will grow by leaps and bounds.”
  13. What economics concept is “driving the expansion of fish farming?”
  14. What business plan or plan of action does Shawn McWhorter promote for starting up an aquaculture business?
  15. Explain the concept of sustainability. Why is that important when it comes to producing and selling a product?
  16. What practices are incorporated by Smith to make his business sustainable?
  17. Could this be part of a continuous-improvement management system?
  18. What type of business relationships must the owners of Freshwater Farms develop? (ex. buying fish from other area fish farms)
  19. What entrepreneurial effort did Smith have to abandon?  Explain what happened.
  20. Given the change in price of fishmeal, would the profitability of the grain-based fish food increase now?
  21. The final paragraph of the article summarizes benefits and positive aspects of fish farming.  Is this a business you would be interested in pursuing?

Hands on at Home or School

  1. Take a tour.
  2. Look up what they sell.
  3. What special services do they provide?
  4. What events attract customers?
  5. What is appealing about the product they sell?
  6. Is their website a good marketing tool?  Explain.


  • Using a map of Ohio located at the Ohio Department of Transportation, or your own map.
  1. Find Urbana, Ohio.

Web Research

  • Research different varieties of freshwater fish that are sold at Freshwater Farms of Ohio.  Find information about:
  1. What the fish looks like.
  2. What the fish is used for.
  3. How much money the fish might cost per pound.
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Largemouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Bluegill
  • Channel catfish
  • Fathead minnows
  • Goldfish
  • Koi

This student activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.