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USDA provides assistance to catfish and asparagus producers

Linda Hennen, state excecutive director for United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Agency in Minnesota, announced that catfish and asparagus producers will have until September 23 to apply for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program for Farmers.

The TAA for Farmers program provides technical training and cash benefits to eligible Minnesota producers whose catfish or asparagus crops have been adversely affected by foreign competition.

"The purpose of the technical assistance training is to help participating producers compete more effectively with imported products or switch to the production of commodities that could be more profitable" said Hennen.

Producers that develop an approved initial business plan will receive up to $4,000 as payment toward implementing the plan and those developing a long-term business adjustment plan will earn an additional $8,000. A producer may not receive more than $12,000.

To qualify, the producers must have produced catfish or asparagus during 2009 and at least one of the three marketing years preceding 2009. Producers must also provide documentation to verify the production and quantity of the commodity.

Catfish and asparagus producers interested in applying for technical training and cash benefits must complete and submit a written application (form FSA-229-1) to their local FSA office.

Producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA county office before the deadline date. More information about the TAA for Farmers Program can be found on the Foreign Agricultural Service website at www.fas.usda.