Survey Shows Struggles of Crawfish Industry During COVID-19
A survey of crawfish producers shows the decreased demand for their crop has pummeled the industry at a time when producers usually make their most money. LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says a dip in demand has resulted in lost income of about $500 per acre.
“That reduction was in the neighborhood of 65 to 70 percent reduction from our typcial farm gate value,” said Guidry.
The survey findings are being used to showcase the pandemic’s impact on the industry to the US Department of Agriculture and Louisiana congressional delegation.
The normal crawfish production season starts near the end of December and will go through the middle of June, but Guidry says some producers have already pulled the plug on their season or will end it by the first week of May because of prices falling below their breakeven point.
“Survey results suggested that producers thought they would end their production season 30 to 40 days earlier this year than they normally would because of either lower prices or a lack of market outlet,” said Guidry.
Guidry says producers who hired foreign labor to bring in the catch are still on the hook to pay those workers for a guaranteed amount of a full season’s work due to contractual obligations.
“They are forced to continue to pay these H2A laborers their guaranteed time period without having the revenue to pay for that,” said Guidry.
A total of 67 producers responded to the survey, representing more than 10% of the acres in the state.
(Story written by Kevin Barnhart/Louisiana Radio Network)