The annual Agrivision Award presented by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann recognizes an individual who has made a difference in Indiana agriculture. This year’s recipient has almost single-handedly build the state’s aquaculture industry from the ground up. Norman McCowan of Redkey, IN is the founder of Bell Aquaculture, one of the state’s oldest and largest fish farming operations. “It is my privilege to recognize Norman McCowan with this honor,” Ellspermann said. “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 makes Hoosier agriculture such a great success story.” Nominations for him came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Indiana Soybean Alliance, among others.
McCowan told HAT Indiana is a great place to raise fish, “We have a great source of water, a favorable tax structure, and a good permitting process that has allowed this industry to explode.” When McCowan started in 2005, there was very little in the way of resources, research, and even equipment to start such an operation. He credited Purdue and the soybean checkoff for helping the aquaculture industry grow the $500 million industry it is today, “They have done a lot of work for us in developing new species we could produce and doing some of that core research that needs to be done.” Indiana Soybean Alliance Chief Executive Officer Jane Ade Stevens wrote, “Norman McCowan has demonstrated vision in fish production, processing, research, economic development and the use of soybeans as a sustainable feed ingredient that is helping Indiana to be recognized domestically and internationally.”
McCowan predicts that, in the near future, aquaculture in Indiana will become a billion dollar industry and that the Hoosier State cold become a major production state, “Right now there is not a national hub for this kind of aquaculture. I think Indiana should be that hub.” The award was presented Wednesday morning during the Lt. Governor’s Celebration of Agriculture event held at The Normandy Barn on the Indiana State Fairgrounds.