Following Hyde-Smith Request, USDA Approves Section 32 Program Purchase of Wild-Caught Shrimp Products 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today praised a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to purchase up to $36 million in Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp products for distribution to various nutrition assistance programs, including charitable institutions.

The decision follows Hyde-Smith’s mid-December request to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to approve a domestic shrimp industry request for additional USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Section 32 Program purchases of domestic shrimp.

“This Section 32 purchase of domestic shrimp products will help sustain a vital Gulf Coast industry that is being assailed by a number of economic pressures, including heavily subsidized foreign competition,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack and the USDA for using the Section 32 program to make these purchases that will benefit shrimpers, processors, and food assistance programs.”

In December, Hyde-Smith endorsed a request submitted by Gulf shrimpers and processors after the U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously in June to maintain antidumping orders on imported shrimp from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam after review of the “woeful financial condition” of the U.S. shrimp industry, including declines in market share and income, caused by unfair foreign trade practices.

The $36 million in Section 32 purchases should allow processors to alleviate high inventories and create a more favorable economic environment for the upcoming shrimp harvest season.

USDA approved Section 32 purchases of domestic Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp in 2020 and 2021 to support the industry and provide additional resources for distribution to food banks and other nonprofit nutrition programs.  The program has also been used to purchase Mississippi farm-raised catfish for nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program.

To counter harm caused to Mississippi shrimp and catfish industries, Hyde-Smith recently cosponsored the Ban C-FOOD Act (S.3417), which would ban U.S. imports of seafood and aquaculture products from China.  It would also sanction companies that import Chinese seafood and place tariffs on countries that facilitate the shipment of the seafood.