A bicameral coalition of 10 lawmakers from catfish-producing states is encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help facilitate domestic consumption of U.S. farm-raised catfish and stabilize markets.
Included in the group of legislators are U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representatives Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., Trent Kelly, R-Miss., and Michael Guest, R-Miss.
The delegation members sent a letter asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to use “Section 32,” a permanently-authorized program, to make emergency purchases of surplus U.S. commodities for distribution to domestic food assistance programs.
“Catfish producers and processors are predominantly located in rural America. Due to historically high inflation across the economy, these communities continue to feel the burden of increased prices. Purchasing catfish will help to strengthen rural America and provide a nutritious, U.S.-grown product to families, children, and our communities,” the lawmakers wrote to Vilsack.
The letter alleges that Section 32 purchases would help U.S. catfish producers reduce the risk of financial insecurity resulting from sharply-climbing inventories and rapid increases in feed costs.
Mississippi lawmakers continue to advocate for the Magnolia State’s catfish, shrimp, and other commodities to be included in USDA Section 32 decisions.