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Gov. Landry sends letter to USDA, hopes to get federal relief for crawfish farmers

1 month 2 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, February 22 2024 Feb 22, 2024 February 22, 2024 5:44 PM February 22, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Governor Jeff Landry has requested federal assistance for crawfish farmers and fishermen who were impacted by last summer's prolonged drought.

A study from the LSU Ag Center suggests a large population of crawfish were killed off and haven't been able to fully recover in time for the 2024 crawfish season. The low supply has caused market prices to skyrocket, and every facet of the industry has seen an impact.

"When you look at south and central Louisiana and how important crawfish season is to our culture, but also to the economy from wholesalers, peelers, boilers, restaurants, transportation that runs it to Houston or Dallas or Atlanta. All those are real local jobs and without the crawfish farmer producing that, all those folks are no longer in business," said Andy Brown, National Affairs Director for the Farm Bureau Federation.

Brown recently visited Washington D.C. with a group of crawfish farmers to speak firsthand with lawmakers about the detrimental effects of the drought on the crawfish industry. Current legislation doesn't allow federal aid to kick in for droughts, but he's hoping elected officials will change that.

"The beauty of this is, we're not asking for new money, more money, we're just asking for crawfish to be included in money that's going to be spent anyway," Brown said.

Brown believes federal assistance won't make the farmers rich; just help them make it to the next season. One crawfish farmer that traveled to D.C. with him had solid evidence of the devastation they are experiencing.

"They had hard numbers that showed less than 5-percent. They were running about 3-percent of their annual catch. They had month-to-month, December to January but that's started to pick up some," Brown said. 

With temps sure to rise in the coming weeks, there's a glimmer of hope that crawfish production will increase. 

Click here to read the full letter from Governor Landry. 

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