IBERIA PARISH, La. (KLFY) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture received $9.5 billion from the CARES Act to support farmers impacted by the coronavirus, yet crawfish farmers may not see any of that money.

Louisana Senators and Congress members are making sure they do, urging the USDA to give assistance to the U.S. crawfish industry under the CARES Act.

“We don’t want anything like in the form of a loan. We want to be able to catch our own crawfish and sell them like we want to, but apparently, this virus epidemic is controlling that,” Duane Smith, president and owner of Duane’s Crawfish Farms, said.

He says his farm is selling 50% less crawfish than last year. Not only that, but they’re having to slash their prices too.

That’s because Smith sells the majority of his crawfish to restaurants across the country, but restaurants are closed.

“We’re just not going to gross the money we’re accustomed to grossing, so it’s really going to be a strain on the business. Let’s just hope we can continue next year,” Smith said.

This is the reality crawfish farmers across the state are having to face.

“We should maybe be included into the CARES act,” Smith added.

Louisiana Senators and Congress members agree. They say the crawfish industry is seasonal
and relies on restaurants, large social gatherings, caterers, festivals, and farmers markets to make money.

They’re urging the USDA to consider these factors and dedicate a portion of their $9.5 billion financial relief program to crawfish farmers.