Hale County catfish farmer Bill Kyser and his family are bringing home a new technology from Auburn University to help catfish farmers net more value for their fish.
On October 19th, the Kysers held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new Alabama Protein Products Plant located on their farm near Greensboro.
"It is not difficult to demand a fair price for catfish fillets, but the key to making the catfish industry more successful is squeezing every penny out of the byproducts of the process," Kyser said.
The new plant will produce fishmeal and fish oil from the offal created as a byproduct of the catfish industry. Kyser described offal as the non-edible portions of the fish left after it’s processed.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, who represents the 7th Congressional District which includes most of Alabama’s catfish-producing counties, was on-hand for Wednesday morning’s announcement. She praised the Kysers for their pioneering spirit.
"I’m pleased to see them investing in agriculture, investing in Alabama and investing in the 7th Congressional District," she said.
The Kysers expect the plant, which will cost almost $2 million, to be finished early next year and employ eight to twelve people.
"Right now, the offal is being processed in Sunflower, MS, and the trucking cost is significant," Kyser said. "We’ll be saving quite a bit in transportation costs, and we’ll be using a more efficient, environmentally-friendly process to generate our product."
Fish byproducts are used in fertilizer, animal feed additives and energy production.
Debra Davis works with Alfa.