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May 17, 2019

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After a challenging year, the catfish business bounces back

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Apr 19, 2019
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North Caroline catfish is shown March 14, 2002 during the 20th annual International Boston Seafood Show in Boston, MA. 
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

For catfish farmers, inventory can be tough to manage. It takes years for a catfish to mature into a healthy product for the market. Throw in a warm winter, and you just might get too many catfish, which drives down the price. Townsend Kyser is a Marketplace regular who runs Kyser Family Farms with his dad in Greensboro, Alabama. We visited him a few years back, as part of our My Economy series, when business was strong. It slowed down a bit in 2018, but has started to recover. One thing that stays the same? The annual catfish dinner for Congress, a yearly event where members are treated to an American fish-fry dinner. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal caught up with Kyser this week. 

“It’s very difficult in the fish business because it takes so long to raise a crop,” Kyser said. “From birth to processing [takes] about two and a half years, so it’s hard manage inventories on the farm.” 

 

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