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Published 10:28 pm Friday, February 13, 2015

By Blake Deshazo

The Selma Times-Journal

A local catfish farmer was recently elected chairman of the Alabama Farmers Federation State Catfish Committee.

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Will Pearce, co-owner of Pearce Catfish Farm in Marion Junction, was elected during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Commodity Organization Conference Feb. 3 in Montgomery.

“It is the members elected to these state committees who provide the leadership and guidance for the federation in every area of agricultural production,” said Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department Director Brian Hardin in a press release.

“At the annual meeting in December, the federation’s voting delegates adopted a new policy to enhance the process to nominate active producers who are interested and best qualified to serve on these committees.”

Pearce is a sixth-generation catfish farmer, who runs Pearce Catfish Farms with his brother David. He was chosen by the Alabama Catfish Farmers as the Catfish Farmer of the Year at the 2010 Catfish Farmers of America Annual Convention.

Pearce Catfish Farm is around 1,400 acres and consists of 120 ponds. The farm sells between 12 and 14 million pounds of catfish every year.

According to the Alabama Farmers Association, the Yellowhammer State is the second largest catfish producer behind Mississippi. Alabama catfish farmers produce more than 100 million pounds of catfish per year. Close to 600 farmers attended the conference, where the state’s industry leaders helped establish policies for the federation.