USDA Section 32 Program Purchase Should Boost Miss. & U.S. Catfish Industry 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today welcomed a decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase up to $30.5 million in farm-raised catfish products for distribution to various nutrition assistance programs, including charitable institutions.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the farm-raised catfish purchase using the permanently-authorized “Section 32” program to make emergency purchases of surplus U.S. commodities for distribution to domestic food assistance programs.

“Catfish producers in Mississippi and other states continue to be buffeted by any number of challenges, including high input costs, inflation, and unfair global competition.  However, they’re fighters and keep serving up a wonderful product,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The continued Section 32 purchases should help them some while also getting more nutritious farm-raised catfish products to those in need.”

Hyde-Smith has consistently promoted the use of Section 32 purchases of farm-raised catfish and other products, like shrimp, to support U.S. agricultural producers and to provide additional resources for distribution to food banks and other nonprofit nutrition programs.  In January, Vilsack approved the purchase of up to $36 million in Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp products under the Section 32 program.

In December, Hyde-Smith 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.