Weary Catfish Farmers Becoming Landlords of Algae

ABELZONI, Miss. (AP) - Catfish pond owners used to hate to see scum growing across their waters. Now though, some farmers are changing that scum into cash.

Some farmers are giving up catfish and becoming landlords of algae. PetroSun BioFuels Inc., an Arizona-based company, pays royalties for the scum, using it to produce alternative fuels.

Terri Chiang, an authorized agent for PetroSun BioFuels, has been introducing the lease program to state officials and catfish farmers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alabama. She says it's like an oil and gas lease.

The real money for farmers would be the monthly royalties. For farmers who own 744 water acres, royalties could mean between $744,000 and $892,800 a year, based on PetroSun's formula.

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