Saturday, April 20, 2024

Louisiana Delegation Urges SBA to Aid Crawfish Industry Amidst Weather Challenges

by BIZ Magazine

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, along with members of the Louisiana congressional delegation, is rallying behind the state’s crawfish industry, urging the Small Business Association (SBA) to declare a disaster and provide emergency assistance to crawfish processors, wholesalers, boilers, and related enterprises affected by adverse weather conditions in 2023.

The lawmakers, including Sen. Bill Cassidy and House Speaker Mike Johnson, penned a letter to SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, highlighting the detrimental impact of adverse weather, including drought and saltwater intrusion, on Louisiana’s crawfish harvest. They emphasized that while these businesses aren’t eligible for traditional agriculture relief programs, they play a vital role in the state’s economy, with an estimated $300 million impact.

“Access to relief programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), through the SBA for non-agriculture members of Louisiana’s larger crawfish industry is essential to their survival,” the lawmakers stated in their letter.

Senator Kennedy, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, previously introduced the Crawfish Recovery Assistance from Weather Disasters and Droughts (CRAWDAD) Act, aiming to expand funding under the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program to include crawfish farmers affected by droughts. The proposed legislation seeks to classify droughts as weather emergencies, eligible for federal assistance.

Louisiana’s crawfish industry, a cornerstone of the state’s cultural and economic identity, has faced significant challenges due to adverse weather conditions. The delegation’s unified effort underscores the urgency of supporting these businesses and ensuring their resilience amidst environmental adversities.

“We urge the SBA to assist Louisiana’s crawfish aquaculture industry by offering the necessary tools and assistance to navigate the application process, ensuring eligible stakeholders have access to critical financial assistance,” the lawmakers concluded in their plea to the SBA.

The Louisiana delegation’s proactive stance reflects their commitment to advocating for the state’s vital industries and communities, emphasizing the need for swift and decisive action to mitigate the economic fallout from natural disasters.

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