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The Catfish Institute picks new leader

The Catfish Institute has chosen Roger E. Barlow of Madison, Miss., as its new president.

The Indianola, Miss.-based organization was founded in 1986 by a group of catfish farmers and feed manufacturers to raise consumer awareness of the positive qualities of U.S. farm-raised catfish.

Since its formation, annual live weight catfish sales have grown from 192 million pounds to more than 630 million pounds in 2002. Per capita consumption in the United States has grown from 0.6 pound per capita in 1990 to nearly 1.2 pounds per capita in 2001.

“I'm really looking forward to being a part of the catfish industry,” said Barlow. “The Catfish Institute has done a remarkable job in promoting U.S. farm-raised catfish, and I want to do all I can to continue this exceptional program.”

Harry Simmons, Yazoo City, Miss., who serves as chairman of The Catfish Institute's board of directors, said, “We welcome Roger to TCI and to the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry. He brings valuable marketing skills to The Catfish Institute. He has worked with the catfish industry on many projects and is very familiar with our industry.”

Barlow comes to TCI from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce where he had served as director of the market development division since 1989. In that position, he was responsible for several areas of agriculture marketing, including catfish marketing, both in the United States and abroad.

As part of his responsibilities with the agriculture commission, Barlow served as interim director of the Southern United States Trade Association, seeking markets abroad for Mississippi products. He also served on the 13-member Mississippi Land, Water, and Timber Resources Board, which funds projects that offer value-added opportunities.

Prior to joining the department, Barlow, a Vicksburg, Miss., native, worked with the Federal Land Bank Association as large asset manager and First South Production Credit as branch manager. He also previously farmed soybeans, wheat, milo, corn, cotton and cattle. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Mississippi College.

Barlow and his wife, Susan, have two children, Hunter and Molly.

A producer-controlled organization, the Catfish Institute receives its funding from catfish feed mills, which contribute $5 per ton from catfish feed sales. Member mills include Alabama Catfish Feed Mill LLC, ARKAT Nutrition, Carolina Feeds, Delta Western, Fishbelt Feeds, Land O'Lakes Farmland Feeds, Nutrena Feeds and TopWater Feeds.

The organization has been without a president since March, when Henry Gantz stepped down from the post. Gantz served as president of The Catfish Institute for nearly four years.

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