Idaho Growers Get Some Relief
Idaho potato growers have received a token amount of government aid relief caused by the import into the United States of french fries.
The USDA approved a petition filed by the producers for benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance for farmers program.
Growers will be able to apply for TAA benefits between March 28 and June 27.
Under the TAA program, USDA provides technical assistance and cash benefits to growers if imports of a like or direclty competitive commodity have contriubted importantly to a decline in producer prices and a loss of net farm income.
Led by the Potato Growers of Idaho, the necessary papers were filed and after an investigation, the Foreign Agriculture Service determined the import of french fries contriubted importantly to a decline in producer prices of fresh market potatoes in Idaho during 2003 when compared to the applicable 1998-2002 base period.
Canada is the only nation that is competitive in the production of french fries with the United States. PGI has determined that the french fry imports hurt fresh market prices at a time when some of those potatoes could have gone to processors in Idaho for the production of fries.