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The innovative agriculture department at the Johnson County Career and Technical Education is taking agriculture well into the future.


The program has generated national attention and has brought thousands of visitors from over twenty-seven states and  foreign countries since its opening in 1997. It has been featured many times in television and radio programs, and newspaper and magazine articles all over the United States. 


In the Alternative Farming Center, students raise tilapia, a warm water-food fish, in multiple raceways housed in the 9,000 square-foot facility  Bedding plants are grown on rolling "water beds"  over the fish. Hydroponic cucumbers and lettuce are produced beside the raceways. Hanging baskets, raised over head, take in nutrients from the fish water, particularly nitrogen, which can be a detriment to the fish and returns the water with less nitrogen and more oxygen, thus benefiting both fish and the plants.

Koi, a water garden fish along with goldfish are also raised in the center. We are proud of our ability to process our tilapia ready for our costumers to cook. Being USDA certified, we sale ready-to-cook tilapia to customers year round.

In this "school-based work development" environment, students are able to take the academic skills learned in science, mathematics, chemistry, and English and apply them in our hydroponics, greenhouse, and aquaculture classes in everyday applications that make sense. They are also taking the training which they have learned in business and marketing and further developing it in the program with practice in public relations, economic development, and job skill training. These students are truly learning agriculture for the twenty-first century.

Johnson County Board of Education
Appalachian Regional Commission
Tennessee Valley Authority
State of Tennessee
Farmers State Bank



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