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NOXUBEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)-August is national catfish month.

Mississippi producers continue to push farm raised catfish as a connection with the state and the freshness of the product.

Noxubee catfish farmer Jeff Lee spends countless hours every day maintaining his 21 ponds.

But in recent years, the 20-year veteran has seen the fish industry go belly up.

“Number of people got out of the fish business and so fish are short and so the price went up and people who really want U.S. Farm raised fish are willing to pay a little bit more,” says Jeff Lee.

Despite the rising prices, Lee believes this year’s numbers are improving.

“The price is a better price where we can survive and feed is easing down some so it’s better that it was a a year and a half ago,” says Lee.

Farmers ship their catfish to processors, like Superior Catfish Products in Macon, before it arrives on your plate.

When you buy Mississippi raised catfish like Farmstead in Columbus, you support local farmers. Not to mention you get to enjoy a fresh and tasty fish.

Restaurant owner, Paul Reeves creates grilled and fried catfish dishes, and say Mississippi raised catfish is the best.

“A lot of times years ago when you got catfish you got that muddy stale taste like it come out…it’s always light. It’s always fresh. The quality of the product is…there is no comparison,” says Paul Reeves.

The next time you crave catfish, producers hope you’ll remember the Mississippi farmers and restaurants that depend on your purchase.

Summer months are the peek time for producing catfish.

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