ST. PAUL – Minnesota may be a state steeped in agriculture, but Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, is working to bring a harvest of a whole new kind to the state: shrimp.
Swedzinski has authored a bill (H.F. 1120) that would provide tax incentives to entrepreneurs looking to enter the world of shrimp farming. He said citizens have been looking to delve into the market of shrimp production in his District 16A, but start-up costs are prohibitive. Swedzinski said providing short-term tax incentives on the front end to help get operations up and running could bring big dividends to the state over the long haul.
“We’re looking to build a whole new industry of agriculture in Minnesota, one that uses local commodities and creates very good jobs,” Swedzinski said. “It is exciting that our state could be at the forefront of the shrimp market by creating facilities unlike any other the world has seen – right here in our back yard.”
Reports show the global market for shrimp is high and projected to continue rising, yet Swedzinski said traceability of the product remains suspect at best. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates Asian countries and Ecuador currently supply most of the shrimp in the U.S. market, shipping their products thousands of miles from locales largely unknown to local citizens.
Swedzinski said his bill would change that, instilling consumer confidence in the shrimp they are purchasing – and eating.
“Some of the places around the world where our shrimp come from today are pretty sketchy,” Swedzinski said. “It would be to our benefit to have good, clean, locally sourced shrimp right here in Minnesota. Having proper oversight and 21st century farms in our state would be a great thing for consumers. We could produce the world’s best tasting shrimp and, at the same time, create hundreds or even thousands of jobs by developing whole new agricultural market.”
Swedzinski’s bill was positively received by the House Agriculture Policy Committee during a hearing on Wednesday and remains in the mix for potential enactment this session.