Growth in the aquaponics Florida industry is expected to double over the next 15 to 20 years, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The climate is welcoming, consumers receptive and national concerns for safe alternatives to commercially grown food are abundant. Entrepreneurial investor money will continue to flow into this industry, especially when slow and steady positive results continue to be reported. Not every operation meets with success, but advancements that come from the lessons of others are helping the industry systematically improve. Planning for food security in unsettled times is one of the driving forces behind alternative farming methods.
Increases in Technology
Much of the loss in profitability with aquaponics Florida lies in the expense involved in chemicals, equipment and the sheer man hours it takes to get the results. Individually, the components are not astronomical in amount, except for the initial outlay of money for land, buildings, and equipment. All things totaled can add up to numbers that keep the business limited in size. Advancements in technology might help trim the costs and time output some, but it will always be a time intensive operation.
Technicalities of the Process
There are many elements that must come together perfectly for aquaponics Florida to work. It is an odd meld of knowledge regarding botany, fish, chemistry, and physics. Striking the balance is a sensitive window that not all operations hit successfully. The more temperate climate of Florida makes it easier to maintain aquaponics facilities on a tighter budget, but it is imperative to have staff that understands the delicate balance that is trying to be achieved. Even with the mountains that are present in starting this type of business, there are numerous new aquaponics operations springing up all over the state.
Demand Over Time
It takes a designated amount of time to grow fish to a size that is ready for consumption. The same is true of vegetables. This means invested monies will not see a return in the immediate future. It is hard to find long term investors in a rushed and quick-return world of investment opportunities. Most are entrepreneurs that have a love for the environment and a belief that this type of farming is thinking ahead for future food security. Those who love a challenge are well-suited to the field of aquaponics Florida.
Learning From Mistakes of Past Eco-Entrepreneurs
There is always a lesson to be learned once the doors have closed at any aquaponics Florida operation. The wise entrepreneur will do diligent research and learn from the mistakes of all those that have gone before. Finding local groups that share information is the best way to sort through the tons of information that may be out there. The best lessons come from those with actual experience. There may have been faulty designs in building structure and systems that were too costly to rectify. You can take this knowledge and implement into your own designs for added success.
The Urban Hope
Urban areas of Florida such as Miami and Jacksonville are the perfect spots to eventually see growth in city farming methods. Smaller aquaponics operations can be done in fairly limited space. Entrepreneurs are zeroing in on this new landscape. Although commercial aquaponic Florida operations tend to show little results financially for investors at present, the burgeoning field of smaller urban farms shows real possibilities in marketing and providing the tools necessary for small production success. There is money to be made in financing the equipment, raw starting product, chemicals and consulting. Each operation has the potential of making a positive impact on the local market.
All Season Production
One of the biggest benefits of aquaponics Florida is the ability to provide fresh fish and produce all year long. Gone are the confines of strict growing seasons. Nothing can be more frustrating to individuals trying to maintain a healthy diet than finding the local markets out of the fresh items they want and need. Aquaponics offers a sensible solution. Restaurants should be some of the first customers in line for the fresh goods. Oftentimes, local restaurants remain completely unaware that this option exists. Instead, they are left to pay high imported prices or resort to using frozen alternatives that are often less than organic in nature.
Getting the Public On Board
Flaws in marketing can be as much to blame for aquaponic operations failures as the costs involved. No one will come to buy your produce and fish if they do not know you are there. Offer limited public tours and informational seminars. Allow people and businesses to sample your products. The organic food industry is huge and there is still a place left for aquaponics in Florida. Consumers of organic products understand that the price will be a bit higher, but they are willing to pay more to be guaranteed food that is GMO and pesticide free. Marketing approaches have to be designed to suit the needs of the current consumer.
The science of aquaponics has to be properly presented to the more patient investor. There is no way to become a millionaire investor in this area of agriculture, but it is easy to come up with $50,000 to $100,000 dollars per operation, depending on size and market for selling the items produced. Understanding that this is not a get-rich-quick method of business is critical for overall success. There are eco-entrepreneurs that are waiting for solid opportunities to make a difference with the environment and help create a better way to feed the world.
The state of Florida has set the stage for further development and success in the area of aquaponics. It has been made increasingly easier to sell the produce and fish to the public both locally and statewide. The support of the public sector and legislators will be necessary for the continued growth and advancements in the industry. These are the factors that will draw in more entrepreneurial investor funds over time. This is what will lead to better technologies and processes that will help make it a more profitable venture for all involved.