Mass., N.H. lobstermen seek trade help
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service has accepted petitions for review under the fiscal year 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program filed by lobstermen represented by the New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen's Association and the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association.
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 similar or directly competitive commodities. The TAA for Farmers Program was reauthorized and modified by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
USDA must now determine if the lobsters are eligible under the program. Petitions must demonstrate that either the national average price, production, value of production, or cash receipts, of the U.S. commodity has declined by greater than 15 percent in the most current year — compared to the previous three-year average — and that an increase in imports during the same time period contributed importantly to the decline.
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, USDA said.