News Filed Under Catfish
An abundance of U.S. farm-raised catfish has driven prices down and delayed independent growers from getting their fish to the processors.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Over the past 15 years, there has been a steady decline in Mississippi catfish production.
U.S. farm-raised catfish is the star of August, National Catfish Month. Contrary to popular belief, deep-frying is not the only way to cook it – just the most familiar.
But who wants to deal with the heat and mess when you can get a healthier meal with less effort? Not me!
Here are some tips and recipes for tasty catfish without the hassle and calories of frying!
We hear all the time that people don’t know where their food comes from. In our work, we often get a front-row seat for the entire scope of food production, from planting to harvest.
Our photographer, Kevin Hudson, travels the state capturing images of people involved in agriculture, natural resources, and more. He shared a few recent photos from a shoot in Noxubee County where he documented the catfish harvesting process.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- This year marks Mississippi’s 200th anniversary as a state, but one of its most successful industries -- catfish farming -- is only about 60 years old.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service has played a significant role in the state’s status as the top producer of catfish in the U.S. Most of the technological advances related to the industry have taken place at MSU facilities under the direction of university and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers.
DODDSVILLE, Miss. -- Production is the least of Ben Pentecost's worries for his catfish farm this summer. If anything, he has too many fish.
"I think our supply is larger now than in recent years, and demand is about the same," said Pentecost, co-owner of the Pentecost Brothers catfish farm in Sunflower County. "We have a backlog of bigger-sized catfish, which processors are pushing back on, but the fish keep getting even bigger the longer they stay in the ponds."
MACON, Miss. -- Mississippi has a long history of catfish production, but recent advances in management and production are changing the way some ponds look and operate.
Catfish ponds have traditionally been rectangular, shallow and large, usually about 10 acres of water. Today, some existing ponds are split in half to make two equal-sized, intensively managed ponds. Another new approach is to use levees to split ponds into cells with fish raised in 20 percent of the area and the other 80 percent used as a lagoon that helps oxygenate water.
VERONA, Miss. -- Mississippi State University specialists and researchers met with northeast Mississippi agricultural producers in Verona on Feb. 16 to provide updates and hear requests for future programs.
Jane Parish, newly appointed head of the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, said the annual Producer Advisory Council meeting reflects the close relationship between area producers and the MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.
STONEVILLE, Miss. -- As demand for catfish remains high, the only components of its production trending down this year in Mississippi are pond acreage and the price of feed.
Producers are receiving an average of $1.12 to $1.21 per pound of catfish and paying less than $380 for a ton of feed. To Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, those data are good news for the bottom line.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Neither crop yields nor prices were particularly bad in 2015, but Mississippi’s estimated state agricultural production value still dropped to $7.2 billion, a 4.9 percent decrease from the previous year.
Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the decline in agricultural value has two causes.
September is National Catfish Month…
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Catfish is high in protein and low in saturated fat, making it healthy and delicious.
Mark Peterman, an aquaculture associate with the Mississippi State University Extension Service based in east Mississippi, said all of Mississippi’s catfish must pass a minimum of three sensory taste tests before processing plants will accept delivery.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- High consumer demand and lower input costs have Mississippi catfish farmers filling their ponds to the brim.
“Consumer demand has stayed pretty high, and that has farmers stocking at high rates, even though pond acreage is down by almost 8 percent from last year,” said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture professor at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. “We are optimistic that consumers are still out there and demanding a U.S. farm-raised product.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Frozen catfish fillets have joined Edam cheese, ice cream, muscadine juice, peanuts, beef and more in the lineup of local products for sale in the Mississippi State University Cheese Store.
Starting March 30, shoppers can buy 4-pound boxes of frozen, U.S. farm-raised catfish in the cheese outlet, also known as the MAFES Sales Store, operated by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Catfish will be sold in the popular 2- to 3-ounce fillets at a price in line with the current market.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Despite low prices for many commodities, the overall projected totals for Mississippi’s crop values should top $7 billion for the third straight year and essentially match the record set in 2013.
John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said his preliminary estimate of 2014’s agricultural production values, excluding government payments, is over $7.7 billion.
STONEVILLE -- There is a reason catfish do well in Mississippi: hot summers.
“An unusually cool summer like we have had can create nice days for people, but the temperatures have caused some problems for our catfish,” said Jimmy Avery, Extension aquaculture specialist at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center.
MACON -- East Mississippi catfish producers are invited to an April 30 workshop that will help them address a new challenge to their profit margins.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering a short meeting on trematode infection in catfish. All industry professionals are encouraged to attend the Wednesday session from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Noxubee County Civic Center in Macon. Registration begins at 1 p.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eliminating ramshorn snails is a proven method of controlling a major catfish parasite, but producers must be constantly vigilant to keep a small problem from exploding into big trouble.
Digenetic trematodes, which are spread by ramshorn snails, can cause costly problems in Mississippi catfish ponds, including slow fish growth, susceptibility to diseases and fingerling death. This parasite is showing signs of reemerging as a significant problem, and it has spread from the Delta to east Mississippi ponds.
STARKVILLE – Mark Peterman joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service as the new aquaculture associate March 1.
Peterman returned to MSU after nine years at Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, where he was a member of the farm management team.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries management from MSU and a master’s degree in aquaculture from Auburn University.
BILOXI – An upcoming meeting will allow producers of various commodities in Mississippi’s coastal region to help guide Mississippi State University’s research and educational programs in the district.
Experts from the MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will be available to discuss current issues, share research results and answer questions at the annual Commodity Advisory Council meeting Feb. 25 at the Coastal Research and Extension Center.