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"It's a dead business," John Dillard told the New York Times. Dillard had helped start the commercial catfish business in Mississippi back in the late '60s. Now he says it's been done in by the high cost of catfish feed, otherwise known as soybeans and corn.
Catfish farmers are in the same shape as other meat producers, who are having trouble finding ways to pay for feed costs that have tripled in price over the last two years. But feed is about half the cost of growing a tasty catfish. (The other half is tartar sauce!) So now the economics of the business don't work and ponds are being drained.
Catfish added some diversity to the South's cotton economy. Now catfish farms in business for decades are closing shut. The Times has a nifty slideshow with this