USDA announces USD 20 million catfish purchase

Published on
September 20, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will be purchasing nearly USD 20 million (EUR 17 million) in catfish products as part of its Section 32 “Bonus Buys” authority. 

The USDA announced its intention to use its authority for catfish purchases on 9 February, is intended to “Encourage the continued domestic consumption of these products by diverting them from the normal channels of trade and commerce,” according to a release by the USDA. All told, the department is purchasing just over four million pounds of catfish from various U.S. producers. 

The decision was applauded by officials in states with catfish aquaculture operations in place. 

“Aquaculture and catfish production is an important segment of Arkansas agriculture,” said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward, in a letter of support sent to the USDA. “We appreciate Secretary Perdue’s support of this important industry and his understanding of the impact that this industry and its producers have on our state’s rural areas. This approval not only helps the industry but also helps to make sure that a healthy protein is available for food nutrition assistance programs.”

The contract will purchase frozen, unbreaded raw catfish filets from several U.S. producers, including: 152,000 pounds worth USD 684,000 (EUR 581,000) from Alabama Catfish LLC, based in Alabama; 772,000 pounds worth USD 3.59 million (EUR 3 million) from America’s Catch LLC, based in Mississippi; 1.1 million pounds worth USD 5.6 million (EUR 4.8 million) from Consolidated Catfish Companies, based in Mississippi; over 1.2 million pounds worth USD 6.2 million (EUR 5.3 million) from Heartland Catfish Company, based in Mississippi; and 874,000 pounds worth USD 3.9 million (EUR 3.3 million) from Simmons Farm Raised Catfish, based in Mississippi.

The catfish will be used in various food nutrition assistance programs, according to the USDA. 

Photo courtesy of Heartland Catfish

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