In the United States, the origin of the farm-raised catfish industry dates back to the late 1970s. As the industry evolved, growth began to accelerate in the early 1980s.
Initially, the catfish processing industry was made up of:
• Producers growing farm-raised catfish;
• Feed mills to supply food to raise the catfish;
• Processing plants that prepared catfish meat for sale.
Protein Products added a fourth and vital link in the catfish-processing chain with its formation in 1983. At that time, the company began working with the majority of the catfish farms and processors to develop a protein conversion facility in Sunflower, Mississippi – the geographic center of the growing industry. This location and proximity would preserve product freshness and reduce shipping costs.
Protein Products opened its plant the following year, in 1984, with fish meal processing equipment from Norway and state-of-the-art waste-water and air treatment equipment. The company underwent several plant expansions as the catfish industry continued to develop and grow through subsequent years.
Increased plant efficiency and marketing of finished products added to the success of the entire catfish industry. By 1998, Protein Products expanded its reach to serve catfish processing plants from Mississippi to Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama.
The growth of Protein Products continues today and continues to evolve with new applications and markets in the aquaculture and biodiesel industries.