By Liza Mayer
The COVID-19 pandemic was no reason for the US Farm Raised Catfish Industry not to celebrate its members. In fact, it is perhaps even more fitting to honor them for the role they and other seafood producers are playing during these challenging times.
This year, the Catfish Farmer of the Year Awards went to three farmers: Luke Smelley of Greensboro, AL; Terry Kruse of McCrory, AR; and Will Nobile of Moorhead, MS.
“Farmers of the Year are chosen annually from a large field of many deserving catfish producers in the US Farm-Raised Catfish industry. Although it is a difficult task to select just one farmer from each of the top three catfish-producing states, those who are selected embody the spirit of the American farmer. All have made significant contributions to the US farm-raised catfish industry,” the association said.
The award winners become the face of the industry in promotional materials in their respective states.
“We want to provide a connection between the farm-raised catfish that people know and love and the hundreds of family farms that dot the Southern United States where these fish are grown. The Catfish Farmers of the Year are the face of the American farmer producing an American product for the American consumer,” said Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute.