BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Help is on the way for crawfish farmers still reeling from 2020′s devastating season.
Prices crashed after the demand for the Louisiana delicacy was wiped out by all the coronavirus-related shutdowns. Restaurants were closed, and nobody could have crawfish boils. Any hopes for a profit were wiped out in March, leaving many scrambling to try to figure out how to survive until next season.
To pull them out of the mud, aquaculture was added to the CARES Act by Congress making money available to crawfish farmers from the USDA.
Now, Congress has included aquaculture in the CARES Act, and money made available to the USDA can now be used to help crawfish farmers.
It gives farmers 65 cents per pound of crawfish. The money will not make the producers whole but will be enough to keep them in business. According to LSU Ag, it is estimated farmers lost 81 cents per pound on average last season.
“Farmers don’t look to the government to make a living off of but in times like this where they need a bridge to get over a gap, this is key to them to provide not just for their families, but if farmers aren’t providing that food security for our nation then you and I can’t go to work to do what we want to do,” said Andy Brown, National Affairs Coordinator at the Louisiana Farm Bureau.
Essentially what it means for consumers, producers will be able to keep farming crawfish at the rate in which they have been, meaning prices should stay relatively stable next year, should markets fully reopen.
Farmers say it is still too early to determine what the markets will look like though, citing the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
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