February 16, 2017
By Debra Davis
Alabama catfish farmers have experienced their third straight year of increased sales, netting producers a $120 million in annual sales for 2016, according to a national report.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released annual catfish sales information, which reports income for the top four producing states: Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. Those states produce 96 percent of all catfish raised in America.
The report revealed Alabama farms increased sales of foodsize fish by 10 percent, outpacing the national average, which had a 6 percent rise in sales from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017.
“Alabama catfish farmers work hard to produce delicious-tasting fish raised in fresh, clean water,” said Alabama Farmers Federation’s Rick Oates, who serves as Alabama Catfish Producers director. “Farmers invest money through the Alabama Catfish Checkoff to help promote their product, and it’s good to see their investment paying off through increased sales and consumption of delicious farm-raised catfish.”
Annual catfish sales in Alabama barely topped $100 million in 2013 when foreign imports were dumped onto domestic markets. Many imported fish were mislabeled as catfish. As health and label requirements on foreign imports tightened, U.S. markets slowly recovered.
“Our fish are better than anyone else’s because of the way we raise and feed them,” said Alabama’s 2016 Catfish Farmer of the Year Bubba Drury of Hale County.
West Alabama catfish farmer Townsend Kyser agreed.
“We feed our fish the very best diet possible,” said Kyser, who also lives in Hale County. “We’re very proud of the fish we produce, and we want them held to the highest standards.”
Click here for more information about Alabama catfish farmers.
Click here for more on the USDA report.