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2010-07-22 digital edition

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2010-07-22 / General Stories

Texas Catfish and Shrimp Producers to Benefit from Trade Adjustment Assistance

(College Station, Texas), July 13, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) announced June 25, 2010, that it has certified petitions for catfish and shrimp under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program. U.S. catfish producers nationwide and shrimp producers in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina will have until September 23, 2010, to apply for training and benefits.

“Farm Service Agency is assisting in implementing this program by accepting applications for TAA technical training and cash benefits,” said Juan M. Garcia, State Executive Director of USA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Texas. “Applicants who qualify for assistance will receive training and cash benefits that will help improve their business profitability and competitiveness,” he said.

Individual catfish or shrimp producers in the approved areas who are interested in applying for technical training and cash benefits must complete and submit

written application to their local Farm Service Agency Service Center. Applications (form FSA 229-1) are available on the FAS Web site at: http:// www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/ taaforms.asp.

“Catfish and shrimp producers are encouraged to contact the local FSA office for more details and to get assistance completing their applications,” said Garcia. “Our offices will be working with Agrilife Extension Service to hold local public meetings and provide additional information on this program,” he said.

TAA for Farmers benefits are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents possessing a valid L-551 (Permanent Resident, or “green” card). To be eligible, the applicant must have produced and shared in the risk of producing the commodity in both the approved marketing year and at least one of the three marketing years immediately prior to the approved marketing year. Additionally, an eligible applicant must meet certain requirements regarding adjusted gross income and conservation compliance.

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. Certain travel and subsistence expenses related to attending training sessions may also be reimbursable.

The assistance is authorized as a result of Subtitle C of Title I of the Trade Act of 2002 (Pub. L.107- 210). Following a petitioning process made available under the law, FAS determined that increased imports of catfish during January- December 2009 contributed importantly to a greater than 15- percent decline in the value of production in 2009, compared to the average of the three preceding marketing years. FAS also determined that increased imports of shrimp during January- December 2008 contributed importantly to a greater than 15- percent decline in the quantity of production in 2008, compared to the average of the three preceding marketing years.

General information about the TAA for Farmers Program can be found on the FAS Website 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 or by e-mail at tradeadjustment@fas.usda.gov.

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