Arkansas Tech University alumnus Mike Freeze is the new vice president for Arkansas Farm Bureau.
He was elected to the position on Friday, Dec. 6, during the organization's 85th annual convention at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
“It’s a huge honor,” Freeze said in a statement. “We’re all in this together, and we all have a lot of the same issues. Our policy is what’s so important. It serves as a map or guideline for us to get change done to get our farms more profitable and to keep our environment clean. It’s good to have a road map.”
Freeze's leadership of the fish farming business helped Arkansas become one of the top three states in the union in terms of the production of both baitfish and catfish.
He is past president of the National Aquaculture Association, the American Fish Farmers Federation and the Striped Bass Growers Association.
Freeze helped grow Keo Fish Farms in Lonoke County, Ark., into the nation’s largest producer of hybrid striped bass fry and fingerlings as its co-owner and operator. He and his team also produce sterile triploid grass carp and fathead minnows on their 1,300-acre fish farm.
A 1975 graduate of Arkansas Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in fisheries and wildlife management, Freeze worked his way through college as a fish researcher on Lake Dardanelle. He later earned a Master of Science degree in biology from Murray State University.
Freeze served as a fisheries biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission from 1978-83. Freeze went on to his successful private ventures in aquaculture, but he gave back to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as a board member from 1999-2006 and as chairman of the commission in 2005-06.
He was the first former employee to serve as AGFC chairman and the commission’s first fish farmer.
Freeze has served as a guest speaker for classes in the Arkansas Tech College of Natural and Health Sciences. He has served as an advocate for fish farmers through written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee and as state chapter president for the American Fisheries Society.
A native of Pine Bluff, Freeze was honored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation in 2013 when he was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame. He received the highest honor his alma mater may bestow when he was inducted into the ATU Hall of Distinction in 2014.
Freeze and his wife, Betty, have two grown daughters: Rachael and Kelly.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a non-profit, private advocacy organization of almost 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.