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USDA Announces Assistance to U.S. Blueberry Producers in Maine Under Fiscal Year 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2010—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) today announced certification of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 petition for blueberries filed under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program by the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. Beginning today, eligible blueberry producers in Maine will have 90 days to apply for training and benefits.

Reauthorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 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 the petition, FAS determined that increased imports of wild blueberries during January-December 2009 contributed importantly to a greater than 15-percent decline in the average annual price of blueberries during the same period, compared to the previous 3-year average. This conforms to the eligibility requirements stipulated in Subtitle C of Title I of the Trade Act of 2002 (Pub. L.107-210).

Individual blueberry producers in Maine interested in applying for technical training and cash benefits must complete a written application and submit it to their local Farm Service Agency Service Center within 90 calendar days from today. Applications (form FSA 229-1) are available on the TAA for Farmers’ Web site at: http://www.taaforfarmers.org/. TAA for Farmers’ Federal Register notices and other related information can be found on the FAS Web site at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taa.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 that 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 TAA for Farmers Web site at: http://www.taaforfarmers.org/ or the FAS Web site at: www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa. For more information, contact staff of the TAA for Farmers Program in the Office of Trade Programs by telephone at: (202) 720-0638 or (202) 690-0633, or by e-mail at: tradeadjustment@fas.usda.gov.

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FAS PR-0253-10

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