West KY Aquaponics, LLC

Owner: Tyler McKenty

265 Billy Watkins Road
Benton, KY 42025
Marshall County

daytime phone: (270) 538-9631
evening phone: (270) 703-0018
Web site:

Application Date: 2018-11-13

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
Our mission statement is "to grow high quality produce and fish using high tech agriculture and provide education regarding Aquaponics." Becoming Certified Naturally Grown is a certification that shows our commitment to customers and holds our company accountable to higher standards of growing.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
We purchased our Aquaponic System from Nelson and Pade who informed us of this certification. We have also been in contact with another Nelson and Pade grower, Ed and Lora Ginter, from Bluegrass Aquaponics, who was granted the CNG.
For how long have you been growing aquaponic produce for market? What has prepared you to do this successfully according to CNG standards? *

General Information

Please check all crops you grow in your aquaponic system. *

Please specify what other crops (if any).
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please specify what other markets (if any).

System Design and Management

Please indicate what type of system you use (for hybrid systems, check all that apply): *

If you indicated you use an "other" system type, please specify what other type of system you use here.
We have a Nelson and Pade 6-500 system with 4-64 ft raft float beds. We also have a Nursery with 6-50 gallon tanks and 3 raft beds. The NFT is connected to the 6-500 system as well as the 4 Living Media beds.
If you use wicking beds, describe how the water his handled after it is used in the wicking beds. Does this water recirculate? If not, how is it disposed of?
What materials are used for root support, growing media, tubing and pipes, tanks, troughs, and other materials that come into direct contact with system water? (check all that apply) *

Are there any other materials you use in your system that are not listed above? If so, please indicate them here.
Hydroton Clay Pebbles
If you use soil or compost in your system, where is it used? Is it used only in the dead-end portion, or also in in the recirculating sections of the system?
If you use compressed grow plugs, what is (are) the product/s name/s? Have you been able to confirm with the supplier that it/they do not contain synthetic nutrients?
If your system contains cement, does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how cement is a part of your system.
If you use wood in your system, is it treated wood? Does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how wood is a part of your system.
If your system includes IBC totes purchased used, have you been able to confirm with your supplier that they were used only for food grade uses? If so, how have you confirmed this? If not, how do you intend to confirm this?
Please note that while IBC totes can be grandfathered in when they're in already in use at the time CNG certification is sought, CNG standards prohibit the introduction of IBC totes once CNG status is obtained. Please indicate that you understand this restriction on IBC totes by checking the box here. *
Does water circulate at a rate sufficient so that the water volume of the fish tanks(s) recirculates each hour? If it recirculates at a lower rate, please explain. *
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate aeration. *
Our Nursery system has an air blower that is connected to all 6 fish tanks as well as the 3 raft beds and Degassing tank. Our Commercial 6-500 system has a dedicated air blower connected to the 6 fish tanks as well as the 4 raft beds and Degassing tank.
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate degassing. *
The Nursery System and Commercial System each have their own Degassing tank that is plumbed into the system between the 2nd mineralization tank and the raft grow beds.
Does your system include any of the following: roofing materials, recycled plastics, or plastics that contain BPA? *

Water Sources

CNG standards vary according to water source. Please indicate below ALL water sources you use for your aquaponic system, and answer the corresponding questions.
Do you use Municipal water? *
Does the municipal water contain chlorine? If so, how is chlorine removed? *
Trace amounts of Chlorine found in the water are removed with a Chlorine filter.
Does the municipal water contain chloramine? If so, how is it removed? *
Do you have a copy of the municipal water testing results? *
Do you use well water? *
Do you use rainwater? *
Do you use surface water? *
If you use a water source that is not named here, please elaborate.

Water Quality: Nutrients, pH, solids

How do you ensure a good match between stocking density and crop production? *
Daily and weekly water quality analysis.
Please describe how you design and operate your system to provide biofiltration that corresponds to production of fish waste and crops. *
We have 3 Clarifiers in our 6-500 Commercial System along with 2 Mineralization tanks and a Degassing tank. Our Nursery System has 2 Clarifiers, 2 Mineralization tanks and 1 Degassing tank.
Do you ever add supplemental nutrients? If so, what materials or products have you used? List ingredients and product names. How much of these do you use? How frequently? *
Do you use worms in your system? *
What materials do you use to buffer pH? *
What methods do you use to prevent the build up of waste solids in your system? *
A clarifier is flushed every day. Solids are sent to a ZDEP(zero discharge extra production tank), backwashed through a bead filter and then sent to the Living Media Beds so there is no waste water.
Please indicate how often you monitor each of the following:
pH? *
Temperature? *
Dissolved oxygen? *
Ammonia? *
Nitrites? *
Nitrates? *
Use this space if you'd like to share additional information about your water quality and monitoring practices.

Seeds, Transplants, and Crop Health

Do you grow some or all of your own transplants? *
What growing media do you use? Please list the ingredients. *
Do you use any chemically-treated or genetically modified seeds? *
Do you purchase some or all of your transplants? *
Describe your primary insect pest challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual pest challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
We have had Water boatmen insects in our Nursery System. We cleaned algae in the grow rafts and added a tilapia fish in each grow raft tank, which ate the insects and haven't experienced any problems since. We use the yellow and blue insect attractor cards on top of the grow rafts.
Describe your primary plant disease challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual disease challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
Tip burn on Romaine lettuce. We are testing different varieties of Romaine that will grow well in our greenhouse environment.
CNG certification requires the use of certified organic or Certified Naturally Grown seeds whenever available. Please indicate the suppliers from which you source - or will source - your seeds if your application is accepted and you continue the certification process. *
Johnny's Selected Seeds, Baker's Seed, Seed Savers
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you understand that CNG strictly prohibits the use of chemically treated or GMO seeds. *
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you will as a general rule purchase organically grown seeds, AND that you will only purchase conventional seed when the variety you wish to grow is not available in certified organic or CNG form. For each variety purchased in conventional form, you will identify (and keep records of) at least three commercial organic seed suppliers who do not carry that variety. *

Fish Management

We do not offer certification for fish, but do set some limited standards for fish management where they might affect the produce and or quality of life for the fish.
Does hormonal sex reversal treatment ever occur on-line / within the recirculating system? *
Please describe the practices you use to prevent and treat fish disease.
We have a dedicated tank that is separate from main systems where sick or diseased fish are isolated and treated with salt.
Have you ever found it necessary to use antibiotics? *
Please describe what kind of fish feed you use. Is it organically grown? (For aquaponic produce certification CNG standards do not require that the feed be organically grown, but we are interested to know what producers are using and to give credit to any producers who may be using organic feed) *
We are feeding Rangen brand food made specifically for Tilapia.
Do you use black soldier fly larvae or duckweed as supplemental feed? *
Do you use any supplemental feed besides BSF larvae or duckweed? If so, describe it here, and indicate how you protect against contamination of your system. *

Protecting Against Contamination

Is your operation partially or entirely INdoors? *
What are the nearby land uses? Are there any that might pose risks of contamination? *
We have bee hives near greenhouse and grow buckwheat in this former pasture/field.
How does your ventilation and air filtration system prevent possible contamination? *
We have bio-secure measures in place such as foot contamination prevention, hand sanitization and locked doors to main greenhouse. We do not have a specific air filtration system.
Do you share space (including fish tank, seedling starting, or plant production space) with other producers? *
Is your operation partially or entirely OUTdoors? *

Waste & Energy

These questions will not determine certification status, but are intended to encourage producers to review our recommendations in these areas and to give credit to producers who have made investments in the sustainability of their operation.
How do you dispose of fish solid wastes? *
We send the wastes out of the clarifier into the ZDEP system where it is filtered and used in Living Media Beds.
When necessary during system change over, how do you dispose of nutrient-rich water? *
There is no disposal, it is utilized in the media beds as mentioned above.
What measures have you taken to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency, and/or use energy from renewable sources? (This could include system design, siting, insulation, crop and fish species selection, and more.)
We applied for and was awarded a REAP grant for solar panels to offset and eventually cover costs of grow lights, etc.

Inspections & Networks

A core requirement of CNG certification is the on-site peer-review. Getting this completed is facilitated if you're a part of a network of aquaponics producers who might serve as your inspector. Are you a part of a network (informal or formal) of aquaponic producers in your geographic area? *
Tell us about it. Does it have a name? Roughly how many members, and what geographic area does it cover? *
Nelson and Pade


I understand that only the produce, NOT the fish, can be labeled and sold as Certified Naturally Grown. *
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally Grown. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one Inspection(s) of another CNG aquaponic producer in my area each year, if there is one within a one hour drive. *
I understand that the inspection I conduct will NOT be of the same producer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown aquaponic certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your operation.