WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will accept a petition for review under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program. The petition was filed by the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association representing apple producers from Michigan.
The TAA for Farmers Program provides technical assistance 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.
Accepting a petition for review begins the process by which USDA determines a commodity’s eligibility under the program. Petitioners must demonstrate that either the national average price, or production, or value of production, or cash receipts, of their commodity has declined by greater than 15 percent in the most current year—compared to the previous 3-year average—and that the decline was importantly caused by an increase in imports during the same time period. If a commodity is determined to be eligible, USDA will certify the petition and publish a notice in the Federal Register. Affected producers then have 90 days to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency to apply for assistance under the program.
Groups interested in joining the petition filed by the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association must complete form FAS-930, which is available on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taaforms.asp. Forms can be sent by fax: (202) 720-0876; or by e-mail: email@example.com; or by U.S. mail: TAA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Stop 1021, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-1021; or by courier delivery: TAA, Foreign Agricultural Service, Suite 400, USDA, 1250 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The use of fax or e-mail is preferred. FAS must receive form FAS-930 within 15 days of the date of the Federal Register notice that announces the petition’s acceptance, to be released next week. TAA Federal Register notices can be found on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/fr/notices.asp.
FAS will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time to receive written and oral comments associated with this petition. The Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association requested a public hearing to present evidence showing that imported apple juice concentrate is in direct competition with apples in the region announced in the petition.
The hearing will be held in conference room 411-P, of Suite 400, Portals Office Building, 1250 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20024. Persons who wish to speak at the hearing must register with the TAA Coordinator, tel. (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, at least 24 hours before the hearing. Presenters will be allotted time to speak and should submit a written summary of their remarks for the record.
A sign language interpreter will be provided, if necessary. Persons with disabilities who require accommodation should contact Francesca Kerr, at tele. (202) 720-7233, or 1(800) 877-8339 (Federal Relay Service), or by e-mail at Francesca.Kerr@fas.usda.gov.
General information about the TAA for Farmers Program can be found on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa, or by contacting the TAA for Farmers Program staff, Office of Trade Programs, at tele. (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.