Grape producers get help after imports force their prices down

SALEM, Ohio – Foreign imports drove down prices for Concord juice grape producers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York in 2003. Now a federal program will help them recoup some of their losses.
Producers have until June 27 to apply for assistance from their county Farm Service Agency office, said the agency’s Erie County (Pa.) Executive Director Nancy Lewis.
Farms may be eligible for $3.07 per ton, up to $10,000, Lewis said. But that amount could change, depending on how many farmers apply, she said.
What is needed. To apply, grape producers will need two main documents, Lewis said:
1. proof of production for grapes sold from August 2003 to July 2004.
2. copy of their Schedule F from Form 1040. This will provide documentation that they produced less in 2003 than in 2002. If this amount is not less, they cannot receive the payment, she said.
Numbers. Lewis said it’s impossible to determine how many producers will come forward.
Several years ago when a crop disaster program was available to grape producers, about 100 Erie County farms applied, and she anticipates about the same number will apply for this assistance as well.
Background. The program that makes these payments possible is called Trade Adjustment Assistance, she said.
The Trade Act of 1974, which was later amended, established the program to help U.S. farmers when imports forced a price decline of at least 20 percent.
It is administered by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
(Reporter Kristy Hebert welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 23 or by e-mail at khebert@farmanddairy.com.)
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