For more than 60 years,
a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is October 4, 2022


Catfish and community

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

There’s a reason catfish is synonymous with the great state of Mississippi.

For one, we love good food. Even though there’s nothing quite like a backyard fish fry, or a po-boy stuffed with a golden brown, fried catfish fillet, there are plenty of ways to prepare the state’s favorite fish. (Grilled catfish, anyone?)

There’s also the fact that the tiny Delta town of Belzoni is considered the “Catfish Capital of the World.” The Mississippi Delta and east Mississippi are ground zero for catfish farms and processors.

Mississippi is the largest catfish producing state in the country with close to 70 percent of total production, according to The Catfish Institute, a national trade group that promotes U.S. farm-raised catfish.

August also happens to be National Catfish Month. For this issue, we visited with a Mississippi catfish farmer to find out how the mouthwatering seafood goes from pond to our plates.

Will Nobile runs a family catfish farm in Moorhead. Nobile has been named the Mississippi Catfish Farmer of the Year two years in a row by the Catfish Institute. Nobile is part of our cooperative family as a member. His farm is partly powered by Delta Electric Power Association.

I love our cover story this month because it is both a story of the impact of our state and culture on the national economy while also telling the story of one of our members. Catfish farms, processors, fish feed businesses and restaurants in our state all benefit our community in different ways.

Our seventh cooperative principle — Concern for Community — reflects the spirit of the catfish industry in Mississippi and what we stand for as electric cooperatives — “While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.”

Delta Electric and the electric cooperatives in Mississippi are part of both the local catfish farming community that directly impacts Mississippi and the global world of catfish sales.

In the end though, for a lot of us, catfish is just good eating.

And amen to that.

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