Burgin, KY – Fish and shrimp lovers get your ice chests ready and take note: the stock at the Northpoint Training Center in Boyle County is ready for harvesting. A pond-side sale of shrimp and tilapia will be held tomorrow beginning at 2 p.m. Those interested can come to the prison, check in at the security post and receive instructions.
The prison partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) to launch the program that will not only provide an ample supply of the much-sought after food, but also offers another venue of training for the inmates housed at Northpoint.
Kentucky Department of Corrections and KDA officials received technical advice from Dr. Jim Tidwell of Kentucky State University’s nationally pacesetting aquaculture program.
"It is because of Dr. Tidwell’s tutelage that we’re now seeing the fruits of this project," said Corrections Commissioner John D. Rees. "Dr. Tidwell spearheaded this project and he and his very capable staff gave us the type of instruction we needed to get off the ground."
KSU officials supervised the stocking of the ponds with shrimp (actually freshwater prawns). Tilapia, a "filter-feeding" fish, were added to the ponds based on KSU research that indicates the two species grow better when raised together.
The shrimp will be sold for $7 a pound and the tilapia for $2 a pound, according to Dr. Truman Tipton, a veterinarian who manages farm operations for the Department of Corrections.
"This has been a pilot project for us," said Tipton. "It’s something, that if deemed successful, we’d like to explore starting at some of our other institutions across the state. The inmates have done an excellent job and this gives them just one more chance to gain skills and knowledge for work opportunities once their released. This shrimp and fish farming has been exciting for them – something different."