Local crawfish farmers say they're feeling the effects of the high cost of fuel prices, which may mean fewer crawfish next season at a higher price.
More than 300 farmers and other showed up Tuesday for the third annual Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Expo held at the Rayne Civic Center.
David Savoy, president of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association, said this year could be a tough year for crawfish farmers, and it could carry over to the consumer.
Savoy said a dry winter is expected with little rain to naturally irrigate the fields, so artificial irrigation will be necessary, which means farmers will be using more fuel to pump the water into the fields.
"This year, the problem we're facing is the high cost of fuel. We've been using irrigation wells with diesel, and diesel will run you about $5 to $6 an hour at 24 hours a day for 40 days, and you can't get enough water out there to the fields," he said.
Greg Durand, a farmer from St. Martin Parish, said he's already being hit.
"The fuel is killing us," Durand said. "Two dollars and eighty-eight cents a gallon for diesel is what it's costing us right now, and the price is still going up."
Some crawfish farmers may be forced to cut back on their operations, Savoy said.
"A guy with a 300-acre operation might have to cut it back to a 150-acre operation," he said.
If farmers cut back on their operations, Savoy said the number of crawfish being processed could drop, which, in turn, could mean a decrease in the amount of crawfish being sold to consumers and also drive up the price.
"Fuel's going up, labor has gone up, and all the factors are against farmers right now," said Dan Landry, who sells crawfish bait.
"All we can hope is that farmers can increase production to keep up and offset the high prices."
"Don't look for crawfish to be so cheap," Savoy said. "Will crawfish be plentiful? It's hard to tell."