MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A state lawmaker is working to help Minnesota farmers grow a popular protein: shrimp.

A bill written by Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) would provide short-term tax incentives for entrepreneurs who want to jump into the shrimp farming business.

“We’re looking to build a whole new industry of agriculture in Minnesota, one that uses local commodities and creates very good jobs,” the southwest Minnesota lawmaker said.

His bill was positively received Wednesday by the House Agriculture Policy Committee, his office said, adding that it’ll continue to be in the legislative mix this session.

Currently, most of the shrimp Americans eat comes from Asia, traveling thousands of miles from spawn to plate. Some of these overseas producers are “sketchy,” according to Swedzinski, who says that Minnesotans will welcome eating locally-raised shrimp.

“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,” he said.

Shrimp farms have popped up in Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest, such as Iowa and Illionois, in recent years. The trend has gained momentum, in part, by increased consumer concern over seafood sustainability.

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