Graves Secures USDA Purchase of Louisiana Shrimp to Help Meet COVID-19 Food Needs
BATON ROUGE, LA – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) secured up to 20 million pounds of U.S. shrimp to be purchased from Louisiana and Gulf Coast shrimpers and processors by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Graves sent a letter today to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue thanking him for directing the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the USDA for purchasing the wild-caught, warm-water shrimp landed in the US.
The AMS, who will purchase the shrimp, will then distribute the shrimp through various food security programs.
Graves has worked with the USDA, AMS and the American Shrimp Processors Association on this purchase throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.
The full text of the letter can be found below:
I write to thank you for working with me and directing the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase up to 20,000,000 pounds of wild-caught warm-water shrimp landed in the U.S. This is much-needed news coming from the USDA as the coronavirus continues to impact everyone across the board. By supplying healthy U.S. shrimp, members of the American Shrimp Processors Association can sustain their businesses in the meantime while helping to feed those in need across the supply chain.
For decades, the U.S. shrimp industry has been plagued with unfair trade practices and is in need of support. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, 80 percent of shrimp consumption occurs at the restaurant level1. However, most of that market share belongs to Asian countries that have a history of dumping in our market. In 2018, U.S. imports increased 5.1 percent, overstocking the market and reducing total revenues by $300 million. Our shrimpers and processors are competing against government-subsidized shrimp industries that, in some cases, provide export performance subsidies designed to give their producers money for exports.
Again, thank you for your leadership and for working with us to produce meaningful results for the American people. Partnerships like this restore confidence in the American economy and provide an opportunity for shrimpers and processors to continue operating their businesses while helping to feed American families. I look forward to hearing more details about the purchase and working with you on other important issues for Louisiana’s seafood and agriculture industries.
A copy of the letter can also be found here.