When people think catfish, most think fried. It is delicious, after all. But catfish is incredibly versatile and a healthy part of a balanced diet. 

“I like to blacken it or cook it in a skillet with some seasoning,” said Catfish Farmers of America President Townsend Kyser of Greensboro. “It’s a white flaky fish that goes well with just about any spice. The current recommendation is to eat fish twice a week, and catfish definitely fits into that.”

Kyser, a Hale County Farmers Federation director, grew up on catfish farms and knows firsthand the precision and care U.S. catfish farmers put into raising fish.

“U.S. Farm-Raised catfish are grown in clean, safe environments,” Kyser said. “We build our ponds specifically to raise catfish. They’re fed a diet of corn and soybeans.

“There’s a misconception that catfish are bottom-feeders, but for farm-raised catfish, we actually teach them from birth to come to the surface and eat pelleted feed.”

In addition to providing excellent nutrition and being clean and safe, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish are an economic mainstay of areas in the Southeast that have struggled economically. 

“The catfish industry supports a lot of communities,” Kyser said. “Catfish are grown in two of the poorest regions in the U.S. — the Alabama Black Belt and the Mississippi Delta. It’s an extremely important product to our communities.”

Kyser said the U.S. catfish community is a tight-knit family. 

“We are a small group in a big sea, so we really support each other,” he said. “We take pride in what we do. We love the land, and we’re proud of our product.”

He encouraged consumers to look for U.S. Farm-Raised catfish in any grocery store.

“If the store has a seafood counter, they’ll have fresh U.S. Farm-Raised catfish,” Kyser said. “If not, look for it in the freezer section. Just make sure to look for the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish seal.”