Don Abercrombie grew up on a farm, the youngest of nine children. He recalls the long days in the fields picking cotton and hoeing peanuts—by hand—and the smiles on his mom and dad’s faces after a job well done. “They struggled”, he said, “but having material possessions isn’t what brought them joy, it was the love of a family.” After graduating high school he quickly realized that being a full time farmer would be an ongoing struggle with interest rates in the 18% range (He was always the statistical type). While working his way through college as a cotton consultant he discovered cotton would not fruit if the boll weevils and worms were not eliminated first. The catalyst of eliminating the boll weevil forever changed the cotton industry in the south. In 1985, Don, his clients and some current customers (Farmers’ Coops) were instrumental in the passing of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program; this program ushered in the resurgence of cotton in the southeast. This connecting of the farmers to markets and profitability challenged Don even more to pursue his passion work in agriculture. Don graduated college with an accounting degree and became a Certified Public Accountant—though it was a steady occupation, it wasn’t his passion… farming was. In 1993, Don and Traci formed AQUASOUTH farm-raised catfish company. Don and Traci had two children, Cass (boy—1990) and Averi (girl—1992). In 1997, he developed an off-peak power rate that stimulated the catfish industry in west Alabama. His analysis of the 2002 farm bill impacted farming in the Southeast; it was published and used as a financial analysis model by farmers.
Don has always been passionate about keeping America’s economy strong by keeping jobs in the U.S. Don was delivering catfish to a customer close to Bayou LaBatre, AL one day when he came to an intersection in the road. It was about 3pm and this intersection happened to be in front of Alma Bryant Elementary School. As he waited for his turn to drive away, a little blonde headed girl crossed the road holding onto her daddy’s finger. He noticed that her daddy was wearing shrimping boots. The little girl reminded him of his own daughter, Averi, and of the long nights checking catfish ponds. What hard work that man must do to keep food on the table for his little girl. At that moment, he realized that he wanted to help the shrimp industry survive and thrive in the US economy. That is why he incorporated shrimp into his company.
Don’s ability to analyze agriculture industries and understand in the simplest terms how to create more value for both the farmer and end customer has driven his company to the forefront in the Catfish industry. By selling 100% USA products that are truly Best-in-Class, AquaSOUTH has combined the best products with a proven marketing program that connects the producer to the consumer. Don also sales peanuts through his company because he has always had a love for peanut farming and it reminds him of his roots.
Don is pictured below with his wife of 27 years, Traci. They have two children, Cass and Averi Abercrombie.