U.S. Congressman Garret Graves Announces Next Steps for USDA Shrimp Purchase, Providing Meals for Families

August 25, 2020

Pre-solicitation notice for shrimp released

August 25, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) announced the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the pre-solicitation notice for shrimp purchases.

“This relief announcement comes after months of work with all stakeholders from the top-down. We have already started reaching out to stakeholders regarding the pending solicitations and how to use the online system so that we can expedite the process in getting nutritional aid to our communities as soon as possible,” Graves said. “Important to note too is this news comes as South Louisiana dodged one potential hurricane and awaits another, but just as we do every time Louisiana faces a hurricane – we work together, pull up our sleeves, reaffirm our resiliency and focus on preparation and recovery. No matter the challenge – Spillway openings, imported products, natural disasters or a pandemic – we will be right there with our shrimpers, processors, and communities working together to provide the relief they need.”

To view the pre-solicitation notice, click here<https://www.ams.usda.gov/content/pre-solicitation-announcement-section-32-purchase-livestock-poultry-0>. The packs will be separated in 2 lb. and 5 lb. packages, and there will be three categories for the 5 lb. blocks: 21-35 count, 31-50 count, and 51-70 count.

Background on Graves Working toward Relief for Fisheries and Communities during COVID-19:

Graves has worked with the USDA, AMS and the American Shrimp Processors Association on this purchase throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act included additional support for USDA programs that provide food to distressed communities.

On August 5, Graves announced<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-announces-major-update-aid-shrimp-fishermen-and-covid-19-food> the USDA decision to purchase U.S. shrimp for distribution to community food and nutrition programs nationwide after Graves worked with the USDA to secure a commitment of up to 20 million pounds<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-secures-usda-purchase-louisiana-shrimp-help-meet-covid-19-food> from Louisiana and Gulf Coast shrimpers and processors. By supplying healthy U.S. shrimp, members of the American Shrimp Processors Association can clear their inventory to sustain their businesses in the meantime, shrimpers can sell their catch and communities in need can be fed.

Graves sent a letter<https://garretgraves.house.gov/sites/garretgraves.house.gov/files/20.4.6%20Letter%20to%20Sec.%20Perdue%20on%20AMS%20Shrimp%20Purchase%20%28003%29.pdf> to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue thanking him for directing the AMS for purchasing the wild-caught, warm-water shrimp landed in the U.S. Graves has worked with the USDA, AMS and the American Shrimp Processors Association on this purchase throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.

On August 12, Graves announced<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-announces-relief-opportunity-crawfish-expansion-usda-program> that Louisiana crawfish is now included in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Graves has been pushing the USDA to make this critical program extension a reality as Louisiana’s seafood industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also issued guidance<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-statement-fema-emergency-food-distribution> in April based both on legislation passed and requested by Graves. The legislation will enable FEMA, the State (Louisiana), or parishes an opportunity to either acquire food for hunger organizations like the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to distribute or to provide financial resources for food banks to acquire and distribute food.

On April 10, 2020, Graves sent a letter<https://garretgraves.house.gov/sites/garretgraves.house.gov/files/Graves%20-%20JBE%20%2B%20FEMA%20%2B%20emergency%20food.pdf> to Governor John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor highlighting the existing authority under the Stafford Act, which was activated by the presidential disaster declaration, that allows Louisiana, USDA and FEMA to expeditiously intervene in the urgent matter. In 2018, Congress passed Graves’ legislation<https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/302/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+302%22%5D%7D&r=1> to specifically create the authority for FEMA, states and parishes to collaborate with food banks.

On May 7, 2020, Graves released a statement<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-blasts-lowball-fisheries-funding-louisiana-under-cares-act> regarding the $14,785,244 allocated to Louisiana fisheries to mitigate the economic hardships accrued by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress included $300 million to address impacts to recreational and commercial fishers who have been negatively affected by COVID–19. To read more about the U.S. Department of Commerce allocation process and a summary of allocations, click here<https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/commerce-secretary-announces-allocation-300-million-cares-act-funding>.

On May 20, 2020, Graves also announced Louisiana<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-announces-58-million-louisiana-fisheries-suffering-2019-bonnet> would receive an additional $58,343,185 in fishery disaster funding to offset the impacts of the 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway opening<https://garretgraves.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/graves-delegation-call-federal-action-protect-louisiana-s-seafood-0> on Louisiana’s fisheries and other impacts. Louisiana became eligible to receive this disaster assistance due to the previously<https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2019/09/secretary-commerce-approves-disaster-declarations-american-fishing> declared disaster declarations for fishing communities by the U.S. Department of Commerce after Hurricane Michael.

Congress appropriated $100 million in the 2019 Consolidated and Supplemental Appropriations Act to address the impact of excessive freshwater, the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening and other impacts in 2019. Louisiana’s share is two-thirds of the total funding, the highest of the $88 million released. There is a remaining $12 million to be allocated at a later date.