REDKEY, Ind. — The only thing fishy about this year’s
Indiana Agrivision Award recipient is his passion for aquaculture and growing it
into a billion-dollar industry.
Jason Henderson, Purdue University Extension director; Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture; Norman McCowan, the 2013 Indiana Agrivision Award recipient; Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann; and Gina Sheets, the director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (from left) pose for a picture while honoring McCowan’s accomplishments in the aquaculture industry in Indiana.
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann presented Norman McCowan, president
and chief executive officer of Bell Aquaculture in Redkey, with the Indiana
Agrivision Award, which is given to a Hoosier involved in agriculture for their
demonstration, vision, innovation and leadership in the industry.
“The vision, team building and sense of service he has
consistently shown is an asset to his business, his specific industry, the state
and national agricultural sectors and his community. The efforts of citizens
like Norman are what make Hoosier agriculture such a great success story,”
McCowan, who was nominated for the award by his peers in the
agriculture community, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the
Indiana Soybean Alliance, noted that his love for fish stems from his childhood
days when he would catch minnows and figure out the water and the temperature in
which the fish thrived.
Today, that boyhood hobby has turned into something much
bigger as McCowan now oversees all of the work that goes into producing Bell
Aquaculture’s farm-raised yellow perch.
“Yellow perch is a very white and flakey fish,” he said,
adding that it also is mild in taste, which is good because many people like the
benefit of eating fish, but don’t necessarily want it to taste like fish.
McCowan mentioned that being honored with the Agrivision
award was really important to him for several reasons, especially that
aquaculture now is recognized as a part of the agriculture industry in
He added that being presented with the award gives him the
opportunity to continue his platform of helping Hoosiers and others across the
country realize the potential for growing aquaculture into a billion-dollar
industry, as well as spreading the message that Indiana has the capability to
produce its own seafood without having to import it.
Not only does McCowan believe that Hoosiers have the
capability and an abundance of the most important natural resource to hatching
and raising fish — water — he also feels that aquaculture can benefit farmers
who grow soybeans by turning their crop into a value-added product through
giving it to fish as a nutritious feed source. The fish at Bell Aquaculture are
fed a soy-based diet.