Heartland Catfish Facts

The consistently mild flavor and firm texture of Heartland Catfish has taken this Dixieland delight to new heights. Once considered a fried, Southern fare, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is currently the sixth most consumed fish in America, because consumers are learning you don’t have to fry it to love it. It is served year-round in restaurants across the country and is readily available in most supermarkets.

Heartland Catfish Company Tackett Farms pond
Heartland Catfish Company food feed truck pond

Delivering Excellence

  • Heartland Catfish Company produces catfish known for its consistency. Achieving that consistency begins with the selection and mating of mature catfish. Mature catfish remain in production an average of 12 years and lay 3,000 to 4,000 eggs annually per pound of body weight. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, they are collected and taken to special hatcheries designed to replicate the natural environment.
  • The eggs hatch after seven days and the “sac fry” emerge. They are called “sac fry” because the yolk sacs remain attached and supply them with food.
  • As the food sacs are depleted, the tiny catfish begin to swim and are moved to special ponds where they grow into “fingerlings,” so-called for their size and shape resembling a human finger. When the fingerlings are between 4 and 5 inches long, they are placed in man-made ponds filled with freshwater pumped from underground wells.
  • 18 to 24 months after being stocked into the growing ponds, the catfish fingerlings have now reached an average size of 1 1/2 to 2 pounds each. These fish are harvested with large seines and loading baskets, then transported live to processing plants in aerated tank trucks.
Heartland Catfish Company Tackett Farms harvest seine aquaculture
Heartland Catfish Company pond aerator aquaculture
Heartland Catfish Company live receiving processing facility processor

Prioritizing Quality

  • Heartland Catfish is raised in the quality-controlled environment of man-made, above-ground ponds that average 10 to 20 acres in size and between 4 and 6 feet deep. The ponds are filled with pure, fresh water pumped from underground wells. Approximately 95 percent of the nation’s U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is raised in Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana.
  • Heartland Catfish are fed high-protein, grain-based, floating food pellets produced by area feed mills. The specially formulated grain-based feed discourages the catfish from searching for food elsewhere in the pond and is one reason for the consistently mild taste of Heartland Catfish.

Maximizing Efficiency

  • Once the catfish reaches Heartland Catfish Company’s processing plant, the entire process takes less than 30 minutes, making top quality U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish among the freshest fish available. The catfish is cleaned, processed and prepared for packaging. The processed fish can either be packed on ice to be shipped out as fresh product or individually quick frozen (IQF), where the product is passed through a freezer set at a temperature of 40 degrees below zero. This quick-freezing method preserves the taste and quality of the fish.
  • Heartland Catfish is sold in many forms, both fresh and frozen. You can purchase it as skinless whole fish, steaks, fillets, strips and nuggets, and several value-added breaded options are also available.