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Senator Kennedy Introduces CRAWDAD Act to Support Louisiana Jobs and Culture

by David Specht

WASHINGTON – Senator John Kennedy (R-La), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has introduced the Crawfish Recovery Assistance from Weather Disasters and Droughts (CRAWDAD) Act, aimed at supporting Louisiana’s crawfish industry amid challenging weather conditions.

The bill comes as crawfish farmers in Louisiana grapple with the aftermath of severe weather events, including a bad freeze and devastating drought, which have placed significant strain on the industry.

“Louisiana’s crawfish farmers have worked hard to weather a bad freeze and devastating drought. My CRAWDAD Act would give mudbug farmers the help they need to keep delivering quality Louisiana fare to crawfish lovers everywhere,” Senator Kennedy remarked.

The CRAWDAD Act proposes expanding Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) funding to include crawfish producers. Furthermore, the bill seeks to classify drought as a weather event eligible for emergency declaration by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Senator Kennedy’s initiative builds upon previous efforts by Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who expanded ELAP assistance to crawfish farmers in 2021 when the industry faced significant losses.

Background:

The ELAP program provides financial assistance to producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish during adverse weather, disease, or loss conditions.

In 2023, Louisiana experienced extreme drought conditions, leading to a shortage in crawfish supply and subsequent increases in market prices.

The price per pound of crawfish nearly doubled compared to 2023 due to these adverse conditions.

Senator Kennedy’s CRAWDAD Act aims to ensure that Louisiana’s crawfish farmers have access to federal aid to sustain their businesses and protect local jobs during challenging times.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau has expressed its support for Senator Kennedy’s CRAWDAD Act, highlighting the critical need for a safety net for crawfish farmers amid unpredictable weather patterns.

“Drought has not spared any crop or commodity in Louisiana, but crawfish, in particular, has no current safety net to keep our farmers afloat. Senator Kennedy offering this bill is a huge support to our efforts to get crawfish farmers an adequate safety net, while also updating an existing cattle program with common sense solutions. We depend on someone like Senator Kennedy to deliver these solutions and he has stepped up in a big way,” remarked Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper.

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