Heartland Catfish Facility

The Facility

Heartland Catfish Company’s main processing plant and corporate headquarters are located on a 50-acre site along US Highway 82, just east of Itta Bena, Miss. In the 135,000 square-foot facility, we employ some of the latest and most technologically advanced catfish processing available today. Every stage of the process from live-fish receiving to product shipment utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and systems to allow Heartland Catfish Company to provide our customers with the highest quality catfish products accurately, consistently and efficiently.

Heartland Catfish Company processing processor Itta Bena Mississippi

Live Fish Receiving and Processing

Upon arrival to the plant, the fish are weighed, graded according to size and automatically directed to the appropriate production line. By matching each individual fish to the production equipment, we can increase meat yields off the carcass, reduce miscuts and maximize machine and personnel efficiencies. Once the fish have been filleted and the fillets trimmed, the fillets are again weighed and graded by size using a computerized grading and sorting system. This system sends the various sizes of fillets to the pack-off or further processing areas best suited for the size of the fillet. This additional sorting helps ensure that each box is packed with the correct size fillets so our customers receive the portion size and piece counts they expect. Computerized scales weigh and record each box of fish as it is packed to guarantee each case contains the correct net weight of product.

Food Safety and Quality Assurance

Computers also regulate air and water temperatures in all areas of the plant. Chilled water is used extensively in areas where fish or fillets are held during the production process. Maintaining the water at a set temperature significantly minimizes fillet degradation and bacteria growth. Similarly, the air temperature in the plant is maintained at a level that discourages bacteria growth on the equipment and product. Together, these measures keep the fish as fresh as possible and extend the product’s overall shelf life. Cold isn’t our only defense against bacteria growth, as we utilize direct-fired water heaters to supply 140°F water on demand for our cleaning crews to maintain a sanitary work environment all day long.

Heartland Catfish Company processing facility processor Itta Bena
Heartland Catfish Company storage refrigeration freezer capacity

Storage and Shipping

Our frozen products are Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) in one of several spiral blast freezers. To preserve their freshness and maintain product quality, fillets are frozen in a matter of minutes. Heartland Catfish Company has the capacity to freeze all production every day, with the largest in-house storage capacity of any catfish processor at more than 2,000,000 pounds. Utilizing multiple company-owned freezers provides us with invaluable benefits – we have same-day access to the largest frozen inventory in the industry, and unanticipated mechanical issues do not halt production. This industry-leading advancement allows us to provide our customers with the freshest frozen catfish products year-round.

Heartland Catfish Company also operates our own fleet of refrigerated tractor trailers. With a fleet of 24 late-model Kenworth tractors and 32 late-model refrigerated trailers, we can deliver our products to our customers when and where they need them. Our trucks travel across the entire United States on weekly planned routes and can easily deliver to any customer anywhere the U.S.