The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced on June 25 that it had certified a petition for asparagus under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program. U.S. asparagus producers, nationwide, must apply by September 21, 2010 for training and benefits. The TAA for Farmers Program provides technical training and cash benefits to eligible U.S. producers and fishermen of raw agricultural commodities whose crops or catch have been adversely affected by imports of like or directly competitive commodities.
After reviewing a petition submitted in April 2010 by the National Asparagus Council, FAS determined that increased imports of asparagus during January-December 2009 contributed importantly to a greater than 15 percent decline in the quantity of production in 2009, compared to the average of the three preceding marketing years. This conforms to the eligibility requirements stipulated in Subtitle C of Title I of the Trade Act of 2002 (Pub. L.107-210).
Individual asparagus producers, nationwide, interested in applying for technical training and cash benefits must complete and submit a written application to their local Farm Service Agency Service Center By September 21, 2010. Applications (form FSA 229-1) are available on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taaforms.asp. All TAA for Farmers Federal Register notices can be found on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/fr/notices.asp.
Program benefits include cash payments and free technical training designed to help producers develop and implement business adjustment plans. Producers that develop an approved initial business plan will receive up to $4,000 as payment toward implementing the plan or developing a long-term business adjustment plan. Producers who subsequently develop approved long-term business adjustment plans are entitled to receive an additional cash payment of up to $8,000 to be applied toward implementing the plan. A producer may not receive more than $12,000 or benefit from any other TAA program during the 36-month period following certification of a group petition. Travel and subsistence expenses related to attending training sessions may also be reimbursable.
General information about the TAA for Farmers Program can be found on the FAS Web site at www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa or by contacting the TAA for Farmers Program staff in the Office of Trade Programs at telephone (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.