NOXUBEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Superior Catfish in Macon announced a $17 million expansion project.
The company kicked off the operation with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning.
The facility is set to double in size over the next year creating 25 new jobs.
Along with Mississippi Land Bank and Bank First, The Mississippi Development Authority is assisting in building improvements and construction costs.
“MDA was able to help. We met with them a few months ago and it’s been an incredible experience to help them and they’re very easy to work with. We’ve enjoyed working with them and we’re just happy to help in any way that we can. So we’re glad that this day came and we were able to help them and they’re able to expand and grow,” said MDA production manager Daniel Lang.
The production facility currently employs about 140 workers.
Employees at Superior Catfish said production has doubled since the current facility opened in 2003 and is expected to triple after the new expansion project is finished.
Superior Catfish, originally known as Saul Fish Processors, was founded in Noxubee County in the late 1970s.
Ever since then, the company has been a success.
According to its website, it has outgrown its facility three times now, but that doesn’t mean the road has always been easy.
“We were on a track that the company was going to have to shut down due to issues with the facility, the production facility… We need to expand so that we have sustainability for our fish market,” said plant manager Fred Johnson.
As it turns out, the “fish market” is a highly competitive one.
Johnson said the FDA recently ranked catfish right beside chicken, pork, and beef when it comes to safe and healthy American food products.
“For our product, for Superior Catfish’s product, the demand is very, very strong… more than we can supply,” said Johnson.
Right now, the plant produces about 400,000 pounds of catfish a week, but Johnson said that number needs to be closer to 600,000 pounds.
“To continue to meet our customers demands, we have customers that we are not able to serve as satisfactorily due to the lack of production. With the increased production, we fill like it’s going to help us to meet those demands,” said Johnson.
A new production facility means new jobs for the people of Noxubee County.
“It’s real big for us. We don’t get many new jobs created here and we’re getting about 30 new jobs I think. It helps. Besides the plant, it helps the farmers out,” said Noxubee County Board of Supervisors President Eddie Coleman
Coleman said farmers are the backbone of the county.
“We got a lot of great catfish farmers, all kind of farmers in our county. They do a really good job and are just real good for our county all the way around… We farm and we haul logs and cut lumber. That’s what we do in Noxubee County,” said Coleman.
Coleman said the new investment makes him optimistic about the county’s future.
“You’re always hoping for something more and better, but this right here is going to take us a long way today. It’ll help the county a lot,” said Coleman.
The new facility is expected to be up and running by October of 2020.