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Celebrating the catfish economy

Kai Ryssdal Aug 20, 2015
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Celebrating the catfish economy

Kai Ryssdal Aug 20, 2015
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Maybe you haven’t heard, but August is National Catfish Month. Townsend Kyser, owner of a catfish farm in Alabama, says this is an important time of year.

“It means a whole lot to me, and a whole lot of people in the South. A lot of jobs in our area … depend on catfish for their livelihood…. Summer is a busy, long season.”

Even with all the talk about the economy and inflation, Kyser doesn’t have time to worry about it. “I’m keeping my head down, feeding my catfish,” he says. 

In a typical season, Kyser says he brings about 4 to 5 million pounds of catfish to market. That’s a lot of catfish.

Kyser started catfish farming because of his family.

“It’s a family business; we started in the late ’60s … 1967 with my grandfather. My father is still around, and my brother and I are carrying on the tradition as third-generation catfish farmers,” he says. 

Even if his father isn’t running the business anymore, he still has some input.

“He still comes in to work every day and tells us what we did wrong,” Kyser says.

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