USDA announces program to help farmers deal with competition from imports

A USDA program intends to help American farmers compete with imports.
A USDA program intends to help American farmers compete with imports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a new program that intends to help those who make a living with farm equipment avert difficulties created by imported commodities.

The USDA's Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers has taken effect in an interim fashion while the department collects additional public comment on the program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the program will help producers as they try to recover from the most recent economic crisis.

"Eligible producers will receive much-needed technical assistance and cash benefits to help them adjust to the current economic environment," Vilsack said.

The program was re-authorized as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program affects producers of "raw agricultural commodities" along with fishermen who experienced a 15 percent decline in things like quantity of production or the national average price tied to the effect of imports.

Farmers with these problems will be given help in developing a business plan that works better with current economic conditions.

Along with the TAA program, the ARRA has provided assistance to rural communities in a variety of ways. For example, funds have been allocated to help improve broadband capabilities in rural areas.