USDA Announces Grant Awarded Louisiana to Support the Seafood Industry

Baton Rouge – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $4,229,669 in grant funds to support Louisiana seafood processors, processing facilities, and processing vessels for expenses related to COVID-19.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s (LDAF) Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority (LAFA) has been selected to administer the Louisiana Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program (LSPPRS) as a result of the grant award. The program is funded by the Pandemic Assistance provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“As the nation’s second-largest seafood supplier, our producers, distributors, processors, and vessels will greatly benefit from this relief. The last two years have brought plenty of challenges to the industry, including the COVID-19 pandemic but also brutal hurricane seasons,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “It’s time to get them back on track and offer some assistance to one of the most important and impactful Louisiana industries.”

The grant will be made available to Louisiana residents that possess one of the following Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries licenses during 2020 and 2021:

  • Residential Wholesale/Retail-Business,
  • Residential Wholesale/Retail-Vehicle,
  • Residential Vessel, and
  • Residential Seafood Retailer/Dealer.

It is important to note these funds are not for lost revenue. They are to reimburse businesses for expenses paid during the dates of January 27, 2020, through December 31, 2021. Qualifying expenses must have been for:

  1. Workplace Safety Measures – -ex: PPE, sanitizers, handwashing stations, cleaning supplies.
  2. Market Pivots – -ex: virtual/online sales costs – website development – credit card processing fees, new signage.
  3. Retrofitting Facilities – – to keep workers and consumers safe – – ex: maximizing open-air activities, plexiglass, walkup windows, fans, tents, weights, tables, chairs.
  4. Transportation – – additional transportation costs incurred to maintain social distancing – ex:  an additional van to allow for one driver at a time or buying a van for deliveries.
  5. Worker Housing – – additional housing costs incurred to maintain social distancing or to allow for quarantining of new or exposed employees.
  6. Medical – -unreimbursed costs associated with providing or enabling vaccinations, testing, or treatment of infected employees – including paid leave.

The application and guidelines for the program are currently being developed.  More information will be forthcoming. Questions? Call 225-922-1277