Gov. Asa Hutchinson was joined by Arkansas catfish farmers and leaders and educators in the Arkansas aquaculture and catfish industries Aug. 9 at the State Capitol for the presentation of the Arkansas Catfish Month proclamation.


“Arkansas consistently ranks in the top three states in the nation in the production of foodsize, farm-raised catfish,” Hutchinson said in a news release from the Arkansas Agriculture Department. “Thank you for your contribution to our state’s largest industry. Keep on growing them and together let’s find ways to keep on selling them.”


Arkansas catfish farmers contributed $18.1 million to Arkansas’ agricultural economy in foodsize fish sales last year. Across the state, 4,800 water surface acres are used for catfish production. As of January 2018, Arkansas producers had 10.3 million foodsize fish in inventory, according to the release.


Arkansas is also home to the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, recognized as a leader in aquaculture/fisheries teaching, research and extension programs.


August was designated as National Catfish Month by Congress more than 30 years ago. The majority of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is produced on family-owned farms in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.


“U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is embraced across the country not only because of its healthfulness, quality and environmental friendliness, but also because it is 100-percent American-grown,” said Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute.


The Arkansas Agriculture Department offers its programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.


“The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation,” according to the release.


For details on the UAPB program, visit http://www.uapb.edu/academics/school_of_agriculture_fisheries_and_human_sciences/aquaculture_fisheries/aquaculture_fisheries.aspx.


For details on the Arkansas catfish industry and U.S. farm-raised catfish via the Catfish Farmers of Arkansas, visit http://www.cfarkansas.com/>, and via U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish.


For details on AAD, visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov.