What do catfish eat? Corn, of course.
According to the New York Times, catfish farmers across the South, unable to cope with the soaring cost of corn and soybean feed, are giving up their businesses.
John Dillard, who pioneered the commercial farming of catfish in the late 1960s, is quoted in the article saying it's a dead business. The article says Dillard & Company raised 11 million fish last year but will raise none next year.
Food prices have been rising due to the growing middle class in Asia, rising energy costs, extreme weather patterns and an increasing emphasis on biofuels.
While corn and soybean farmers have benefited from the increased price of their goods, consumers are paying higher prices at the grocery store. In addition, corn is an ingredient in many products and is used for animal feed.
That includes catfish.
Catfish feed is now more than half the total cost of raising catfish, according to the Times, compared with a third of the cost of beef and pork production.
Jobs will be lost, not only at the catfish farms, but at the processors where the catfish are cut into fillets.
Dick Stevens, president of Consolidated Catfish, said the industry would implode and blames ethanol mandates for the problem: Politicians were in a rush to do something, and it became a terrible snowball."
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