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This pond-raised catfish has been infected by trematodes, visible as bumps just under the skin. This parasite reduces catfish feed consumption, which increases the time it takes for fish to grow to market size. (Photo by MSU Delta Research and Extension Center/Jimmy Avery)
April 11, 2014 - Filed Under: Catfish

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.

Mark Peterman
March 10, 2014 - Filed Under: Catfish

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.

January 27, 2014 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Livestock, Catfish

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.

Mississippi 2013 Estimated Value of Ag Production
December 19, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish, Crops, Agricultural Economics, Forages, Livestock, Poultry

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s top two agricultural commodities -- poultry and forestry -- maintained their strength in 2013, but most agronomic crop values took a hit from significantly lower prices than those earned in 2012.

John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said agronomic crop prices were a major drag in the state’s total agricultural commodity value despite good-to-great production levels.

July 17, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE – Mississippi State University scientists looking to help catfish producers keep costs low and quality high have found catfish can thrive for the first six weeks after hatching by feeding on naturally occurring zooplankton.

Several aquaculture researchers at MSU’s Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center compared the growth and survival of two groups of recently hatched catfish, called fry. Both groups were raised in ponds, but for six weeks, one group ate commercial feed daily while the other group did not.

Cool temperatures delayed the start of shrimp season in Mississippi's coastal waters until June 11, but if conditions hold, the crop is predicted to be about the same as last year's in terms of prices and production costs. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
July 5, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

BILOXI – More than 250 boats launched on June 11 to open the shrimp season in Mississippi’s coastal waters.

A cold, wet spring delayed the season’s start, which opened June 1 last year.

“The things farmers hate -- drought and heat -- are great for shrimp production,” said Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “The brown shrimp don’t grow as fast under the conditions we had this spring, but once it gets hot, they can go up a whole count size in a week.”

Jeremy Jack, left, and Mississippi State University professor Robbie Kroger discuss some of the conservation methods employed on the Silent Shade Planting Company in Belzoni. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
May 23, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish, Farming, Environment, Natural Resources

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Conservation-minded Mississippi farmers have enrolled 126,470 acres in the Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat program, a Mississippi State University effort to impact land management.

Robbie Kroger, an assistant professor of aquatic sciences in the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, leads the REACH initiative, which as of April includes 41 farmers. Participation in the program impacts management practices on their acreage.

These 2012 catfish fry at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine are similar to young fish that have been delayed by this spring's cool temperatures, which have slowed growth of Mississippi's farm-raised catfish and delayed the start of hatchery season. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
May 10, 2013 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s catfish farmers continue to address production challenges as the industry works to reclaim markets lost to imported fish.

Jeremy Robbins, vice president of The Catfish Institute based in Jackson, said farmers have struggled in recent years with high feed prices, their No. 1 expense, while dealing with increased competition from imports.

Speaking at a Producer Advisory Council meeting in Verona on Feb. 21, 2013, Mississippi State University administrator George Hopper challenges agricultural producers to tell the state's land-grant university representatives what they need to succeed with their commodities. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
February 28, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Livestock, Forestry, Catfish

VERONA – When agricultural producers speak, Mississippi State University listens.

About 300 commodity producers, crop consultants and MSU representatives met on Feb. 21 at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona for the annual Producer Advisory Council meeting. The meeting has been held for more than half a century to give farmers the opportunity to express agricultural needs to their land-grant institution.

February 4, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Livestock, Forestry, Catfish

BILOXI -- Coastal area commodity producers are invited to meet with Mississippi State University experts during the fifth annual Commodity Advisory Council Feb. 25 at the Coastal Research and Extension Center.

Producers will have the opportunity to evaluate and provide direction on Extension programming and research by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station for their products and crops. Representatives of MSU’s Extension Service and MAFES will discuss current issues and answer questions.

February 1, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish, Crops, Livestock, Forestry

JACKSON -- Agricultural producers in central Mississippi are invited to evaluate and provide direction on educational programming and research provided by Mississippi State University.

Producers of various commodities are invited to participate in the Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council Feb. 26 at the McKenzie Arena in Raymond. Representatives from the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and MSU’s Extension Service will discuss current issues and answer questions.

January 25, 2013 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Livestock, Forestry, Catfish

VERONA – Mississippi State University’s North Mississippi Research and Extension Center will host its annual Producer Advisory Council meeting Feb. 21 at the Magnolia Conference Center in Verona.

This yearly meeting allows growers, producers, ranchers and other agricultural clients to meet with scientists and specialists from MSU’s Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station to share concerns, ask questions and provide feedback about research and Extension programs.

Mississippi 2012 Estimated Value of Ag Production
December 13, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Soybeans, Agricultural Economics, Forages, Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Swine, Forestry, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Significant production levels and high market prices combined to give Mississippi’s agricultural commodities over $7 billion in total value.

Mississippi State University agricultural economists gathered preliminary data from crop production reports, world agricultural supply and demand estimates, industry resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture outlook reports. They predict a $7.3 billion annual value of the state’s top crops, excluding government payments. Final figures will be available in the spring of 2013.

September 28, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Animal Health, Catfish

Sidebar to MSU veterinary expert shares expertise in Nigeria

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fish make up about 41 percent of the meat in the average Nigerians’ diet, but domestic supply falls short of that, forcing the country to spend $500 million a year on imported fish.

Dr. Skip Jack, Mississippi State University veterinarian, spent three weeks in Nigeria teaching about fish health. Here, he holds a Clarius catfish with some students in Lagos, Nigeria. (Submitted Photo)
September 28, 2012 - Filed Under: Animal Health, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Commercially grown catfish in North America or Africa face similar challenges, a fact that sent one Mississippi State University veterinarian on a training mission to Nigeria in June.

Dr. Skip Jack, a professor of pathobiology and population medicine at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, spent almost three weeks teaching Nigerian catfish farmers, veterinarians and students about health issues related to their fish. He was part of the Farmer to Farmer project, teaching under the oversight of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Caught in a trap of high input costs and low pond bank prices, Mississippi's catfish farmers struggle to break even as the nation's drought tightens feed supplies. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
August 17, 2012 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippians do not have to look far to see the impact of the Midwest’s historic drought, as the state’s catfish farmers already feel the pinch of sky-high feed costs.

Employees at Pride of the Pond in Tunica work precisely and quickly to trim catfish fillets that will later be frozen and shipped. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
August 16, 2012 - Filed Under: Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In an industry with small profit margins, a perishable product and fierce, largely unregulated competition, one Mississippi company has confidently filled its market for more than 30 years.

Pride of the Pond is the catfish processing operation of Battle Farms of Tunica. Owned by Bill Battle, the farm has about 10,000 acres of row crops and 2,700 acres of ponds in Panola, Tunica and Quitman counties. The state-of-the-art catfish processing plant is located just a few miles outside Tunica and employs 121 people.

The bulk of the 1.137 million pounds of shrimp landed in Biloxi during the first two weeks of the season have been medium, 36- to 40-count shrimp. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
June 22, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Catfish, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

MISSISSIPPI STATE – The shrimp are slightly bigger, but prices are down, making this year’s season-opening in Biloxi comparable to last year’s start.

During the first two weeks of the 2012 season, 1.137 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Biloxi. In the same time in 2011, 1.124 million pounds were landed at the same port.

Shrimp season began May 30, and 210 boats went out for the opening day. To date, the bulk of the production has been medium, 36- to 40-count shrimp, a reference to the number of shrimp needed to make a pound.

 Jimmy Avery
May 22, 2012 - Filed Under: Catfish

STONEVILLE -- Two Mississippi State University scientists are taking on new leadership roles at the university’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville.

Jimmy Avery, who has served as the MSU Extension Service aquaculture specialist since 1999, has been named director of the Southern Regional Aquaculture Center.

The mission of the center is to support aquaculture research and education in the Southeast. Its goal is to enhance aquaculture production to benefit consumers, producers, service industries and the American economy.

In early May, Mississippi State University wildlife professor Jeanne Jones worked with BBC film crews shooting footage of toads' ability to capture prey. (Photo by MSU University Relations/Megan Bean)
May 17, 2012 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries, Catfish

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Catfish and toads drew two British Broadcasting Corporation film crews and host to spend three days with Mississippi State University experts.

The crew was shooting an upcoming BBC documentary called Wonders of Life with host Brian Cox. It will follow Cox’s successful Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, viewed by millions of people in the United Kingdom and around the world last year.