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South Farm aquaculture research facility, is an on-campus aquaculture facility that provides opportunities to faculty, graduate students and undergraduates to conduct aquaculture related research here at Mississippi State University. South Farm has close collaborative ties with the USDA-APHIS wildlife services unit as well as the Hill County Initiative through the USDA-ARS.

South Farm facilities include...

  • 86 ponds occupying 15 acres
  • 9 large (4,000-L) recirculating systems
  • 4 large raceways, 2 small raceways
  • a temperature controlled experimental room
  • 2 recirculating systems, each with ten 400-L tanks
  • 2 general use labs
  • a mesocosm facility: 30, 3,500-L tanks
  • 2 large walk-in coolers
  • staff preparation/meeting room
  • on-site housing for 1 staff member for 24-hour facility oversight
  • 2 wells that serve as supplies for water at a capacity to provide flow rates of 1,600 gallons/minute and 400 gallons/ minute
The facility is maintained by a staff of 5 including 1 facilities coordinator, 3 farm assistants, and 1 farm laborer.


One of the primary purposes of the South Farm Aquaculture and Aquatic Science Facility is to provide research support for regional aquaculturalists. Proactive research targeted at relevant aquaculture and aquatic science issues, particularly concerning catfish production in eastern Mississippi, is a main component of facility research. Regional aquaculture challenges also differ from those faced by catfish growers in the Mississippi Delta and in other regions. Catfish research is designed to develop more efficient and sustainable aquaculture production systems, and to examine physiology, health and performance of catfish.

Research is also aimed at providing diversification opportunities for aquaculturalists in eastern Mississippi and the broader region. The aquaculture industry must remain competitive and profitable for continued industry stability and growth. Diversification is critical in any industry, and it is imperative that additional opportunities become available to farmers to ensure stable income. To this end, research on the culture of a wide variety of species is pursued, including: recreational gamefishes, baitfish species, and crustaceans. Some of these species utilize different economic markets than traditional food-based aquaculture products, and provide great potential diversification opportunities.

A third research focus is on the culture and physiology of conservation species. Research has included species such as: Alligator Gar, Atlantic Sturgeon, American Paddlefish, Black Buffalo, and many others. Conservation culture is often an important component of species resilience to increasing anthropogenic environmental changes. Research can be important for understanding the biology of species of concern and directing recovery plans.

The facility is primarily funded by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES).

facility rental

Facility Rental

Space is available for rent. Please complete the pond rental form and a facility manager will contact you regarding your rental needs.
Pond Rental Form

need more information

Need More Information

More information is available from MSU's Extension Service.
Aquaculture in Mississippi
How to Build a Farm Pond
Pond Management
Pond Renovation

contact us

Contact Us

Peter Allen
Associate Professor
Phone: 662.325.4768

Mack Fondren
Facility Manager
Phone: 662.325.3087