The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) this week accepted two petitions for review under the 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program. One petition was filed by wool producers from Montana, and the other petition was filed by lamb producers from Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
The TAA for Farmers Program provides technical assistance and cash benefits to eligible U.S. producers of raw agricultural commodities whose crops have been adversely affected by imports of like or directly competitive commodities.
Accepting a petition for review begins the process by which USDA determines, within 40 days, a commodity's eligibility under the program. Petitions 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 an increase in imports during the same time period contributed importantly to the decline.
"ASI was notified in the last few days that several producers and an extension official had filed the petitions," commented Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association. "We understand that individual producers can join the petition by July 30 and, if the petitions are approved, all producers in that state would then be eligible to apply for cash payments in return for business training and a business plan."
FAS held a public hearing on Wed., July 21, to receive oral comments associated with the lamb petition. The petitioners requested a public hearing to present evidence showing that imported lamb meat is in direct competition with lamb production in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.
To obtain more information, visit the TAA for Farmers' Web site at www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa.