Our Roots

The roots of Heartland Catfish Company can be traced to the mid-1970s when William Tackett, his son Jim Tackett, and his son-in-law Joe Walker, decided to begin raising catfish on 80 acres in the western part of Leflore County, Mississippi. From that 80 acres grew Tackett Fish Farms, the largest farm-raised catfish operation in the United States.

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Heartland Catfish Company Tackett Farms William Tackett aquaculture history

 

Heartland Catfish Company Tackett Farms harvest seine aquaculture

Building A Legacy

Throughout the 1980s and mid-1990s, Tackett Fish Farm sold its live catfish to various cooperative processing plants in the area, but the idea of building their own processing plant was constantly discussed among the three owners. In 1995, the time finally seemed right to build a plant to process their own fish. They selected Danny Walker, then President of Tackett Fish Farms, as Chief Executive Officer. For processing expertise, they hired Tim Millwood as Vice President of Operations. Tim brought more than fifteen years of catfish processing experience and was instrumental in establishing the standards Heartland Catfish Company works under still today. To market the final product, Dan Sawin, a former food service sales manager for Delta Pride, was chosen to serve as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Entering an industry where several other companies were already well-established in the marketplace required Heartland Catfish Company to find a way to distinguish itself from the competition. Heartland Catfish Company was determined to produce the freshest, highest-quality catfish products and provide it to their customers with the best service at the best value. 

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Heartland Catfish Company shipping receiving truck fleet refrigerated delivery

 State-of-The-Art Facility

Rather than utilizing common industry standards and procedures for processing catfish, Heartland Catfish Company designed a state-of-the-art facility that merged the best of the industry standards for filleting with the latest technology for grading of products and monitoring the process flow. Heartland Catfish Company utilized standards and procedures from other seafood industries and even the poultry industry to build a plant unlike any other catfish plant at the time.

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