The Catfish Capital of the World

Humphreys County, Mississippi


When J. B. Williamson dug his first catfish pond in 1965, Humphreys County was part of an economically blighted area in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Standing waist-deep in their rubber waders, he and those who followed his example could only hope that their ponds might yield enough to turn a modest profit. These first catfish farmers, as foresighted as they were, could never have imagined the future economic impact of those first few ponds in Humphreys County.

With guidance and asistance from the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service and others who saw their potential, the catfish farmers of Humphreys County established themselves as leaders in the exciting new industry that was to transform the economy of the area. Together, these men had given birth to the U.S. farm-raised catfish industry.

In 1976 U. S. production totaled 55,000 acres with Mississippi producing 27,000 of that amount and Humphreys County leading any other county in the United States with 6,000 acres. This led to Governor Cliff Finch proclaiming Humphreys County as “The Catfish Capital of the World,” a title that Humphreys County still holds. Today the County has over 35,000 acres under water, a growth without parallel.

The persistence and hard work of the Delta’s catfish famers have helped to transform the area’s economy. Entry into European and Far East markets has made catfish a world-wide commodity, offering consumers a nutritious, delicious entree.


The Catfish Capitol



Catfish Facts

* Mississippi ranks first in total U.S. catfish production contributing more than 75% of all catfish consumed in the nation.

* Mississippi has about 102,000 acres of catfish with an annual income of over 300 million dollars. The catfish industry employs more than 8,000 people.

* Humphreys County has approximately 117 catfish farms with over 35,000 acres of U.S. farm-raised catfish, making it the top production county in the United States. This catfish acreage is more than any other single state in the U.S.

* The average catfish pond is approximately 17 acres and 4 feet deep. Pure, fresh water comes from underground wells.

* Ponds are stocked with 6,000 catfish to the acre.

* Catfish convert feed at a yield of about 1 pound of catfish for every 1.8 pounds of feed.

* Mississippi farm-raised catfish are fed a “puffed” high-protein floating food pellet — a mixture of soybeans, corn, wheat, vitamins, minerals and fish meal — produced by feed mill located in the Mississippi Delta.

* Catfish are harvested every week of the year.

* By the time Mississippi farm-raised catfish are 18 to 24 months old, they are ready for harvest. (Average weight 1-1.5 pounds.)

* World Catfish Festival — Saturday, April 1, 2006

* Come and enjoy Humphreys County catfish. The best there is!