Sens. John Kennedy (R-La) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) joined Reps. Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Garret Graves (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) in asking Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to assist America’s crawfish industry as it struggles from the effects of the coronavirus.
“The crawfish industry is a critical part of Louisiana’s economy and culture. It supplies the entire nation with one of mother nature’s tastiest foods. I hope the Department of Agriculture will provide assistance to our crawfish producers so Americans can keep enjoying Louisiana fare while we preserve Louisiana jobs,” said Kennedy.
The U.S. crawfish industry is largely seasonal. It relies heavily on direct-to-consumer markets, such as restaurants, large social gatherings, caterers, festivals and farmers markets. The industry has lost business under government orders to close restaurants to dine-in customers and CDC limitations on social gatherings.
Without federal assistance, the short-term losses caused directly by the coronavirus pandemic could hurt the long-term health of the industry. The delegation therefore urged Secretary Perdue to consider strongly assisting the domestic crawfish industry under the CARES Act.
Congress last month allocated $9.5 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for the Department of Agriculture to support agricultural producers affected by the coronavirus. The crawfish industry contributes about $350 million to Louisiana’s economy and could see a 60 percent loss in market value by the peak of the season.
The letter is available here.