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Louisiana's Congressional Delegation requests aid for state's crawfish industry

2 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, April 09 2020 Apr 9, 2020 April 09, 2020 5:27 AM April 09, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

Baton Rouge — As the state's crawfish industry anticipates an economic hit due to the virus pandemic, all eight members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation have asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue to include crawfish in the $9.5 billion in assistance provided by Congress in the CARES Act. 

The delegation composed a letter to Senator Perdue, which states, in part, “The U.S. crawfish industry is largely seasonal and relies heavily on direct-to-consumer markets, such as restaurants, large social gatherings, caterers, festivals, and farmers markets."

"Government orders to close restaurants to dine-in customers and CDC limitations on social gatherings have directly impacted this industry. Many producers have seen prices plummet by more than $1.00 per pound.”

Congressman Ralph Abraham of Alto, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee, and Congressman Clay Higgins of Lafayette, who represents a large number of crawfish farmers in Southwest Louisiana, led the charge to add crawfish to the list of agricultural products impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy also joined Congressmen Abraham, Higgins, Garret Graves, Mike Johnson, Cedric Richmond and Minority Whip Steve Scalise in signing the previously mentioned letter dated April 8. 

Louisiana Rice Producers Group Chairman Jackie Loewer then penned a second letter to Secretary Perdue. 

In it, Loewer echoed the concerns of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation and added, “In South Louisiana where the majority of rice is planted in the state, virtually every rice farmer also farms crawfish."

"The crawfish industry and the symbiotic relationship it has with rice production has become a necessary enterprise in sustaining revenue to keep the region’s farmers viable.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for writing the rules for assistance through the CARES Act. 

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