“Getting involved in agriculture was a natural choice – it was all about quality of life.”Michael Miller
Name: Michael Miller
Location: Albany, Indiana
Years farming: Four-plus years; however, individuals on both sides of my family were farming in Indiana in 1830 in the Acton/Wanamaker areas of Marion County and the Dunkirk area of Jay County. They farmed both grain and livestock.
My family: My wife, Kathryn, and our twin sons Isaac and Hayden, love the country living we now enjoy. Our business partners are our family. My mother, Ann Baldwin, and her husband Brian have been instrumental in the growth of our aquaculture farm. Further back, both sides of my family were Indiana pioneers having arrived in Marion County before 1830 and Jay County by 1834. Both families have a long and varied history in the state. I did not grow up on a farm, but had regular visits to the family farm located in Delaware County.
How I came to be a farmer: During my tenure in broadcasting, I worked on a project about aquaculture. I became very interested in the subject, and it quickly became a passion. I immersed myself in the study of aquaculture and became an officer of the Indiana Aquaculture Association, Inc. (IAAI) in 1995. The more I learned, the more excited I got. I discovered that the commercial supply of yellow perch (which had always been a favorite of mine) was dwindling, and I began to dream about coupling my new enthusiasm with bringing yellow perch back to availability.
The best thing about being a farmer: Farming provides an opportunity to give back to the local community while providing food for the world. The best thing about aquaculture as a farming enterprise is that it offers a high protein source via a very small footprint of land. As a “city child,” I was fortunate enough to experience farming first hand through my grandparents and their stories. Now, our family (more specifically, our children) get to experience it first hand as well.
My personal philosophy on farming: There has never been a question that farming is business. The questions are how large of a farming business operation do you want to have, and what market(s) do you serve? Economy of scale is required to maintain and grow the farm so that the business operation can hire and feed more people, and we’ve worked hard to lay a foundation for growth. I also believe in being an involved voice; I currently serve on the USDA sub-group known as the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC), the Regional Aquaculture Extension Team (RAET) and the Industry Advisory Council (IAC).
For more information about fish farming in Indiana, please visit www.bellperch.com