Legislation aimed at incentivizing the production of shrimp in Minnesota cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, earning bipartisan support from the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Committee. The bill, Senate File 841, authored by Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), creates a $5 million incentive program for Minnesota companies that produce over 25,000 pounds of shrimp each quarter.
“About 80 percent of shrimp consumed in the United States is produced abroad, but the thirst for domestic production exists,” Sen. Weber said. “I am hopeful this legislation will allow shrimp producers already operating in Minnesota to expand, while luring new development and encouraging shrimp production in our state.”
The legislation comes on the heels of an announcement that truShrimp, a subsidiary of southwestern Minnesota-based Ralco, will invest $54 million in the construction of a shrimp production facility near Balaton, a small community in Sen. Weber’s district. A University of Minnesota study estimates that, in addition to supporting over 120 jobs, the single facility is estimated to generate $23 million annually for the region’s economy.
Following its committee hearing, the bill will head to the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance Committee for further consideration. Its House companion has not yet had a committee hearing.
“The economic impact that shrimp production could have on our region is limitless,” Sen. Weber continued. “I believe we are positioning ourselves to be at the forefront of an industry that has the potential for explosive growth, not only in Senate District 22, but in all of Minnesota. I commend truShrimp and its parent company, Ralco, for their commitment to their home area and state.”
Sen. Weber is in his second term representing Senate District 22, which includes communities in nine southwestern Minnesota counties. He serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee.