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Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers
NOTE: The text as shown here is as codified at the start of the 112th Congress (2011-2012). See the links below for changes to the law that took effect after that date as well as others enacted during the 112th Congress.

The TAA program was originally enacted as part of the Trade Exaonsion Act of 1962, and has been extensively modified by subsequent amendments. The version shown here is as codified in Chapter 12 of Title 19 of the U.S. Code.
 

 

See also the 2009-2010 amendments that were generally due to sunset in 2011-2012 as well as further 2011 amendments.

 

There are parallel programs providing trade adjustment assistance for workers, communities, and firms.

 

See also the CENTRAL guides to Trade in Agriculture and to Labor and the Environment.

 

 

 

 

 


Part 6—Adjustment Assistance for Farmers

§2401. Definitions

In this part:

(1) Agricultural commodity

The term “agricultural commodity” includes—

(A) any agricultural commodity (including livestock) in its raw or natural state;

(B) any class of goods within an agricultural commodity; and

(C) in the case of an agricultural commodity producer described in paragraph (2)(B), wild-caught aquatic species.

(2) Agricultural commodity producer

The term “agricultural commodity producer” means—

(A) a person that shares in the risk of producing an agricultural commodity and that is entitled to a share of the commodity for marketing, including an operator, a sharecropper, or a person that owns or rents the land on which the commodity is produced; or

(B) a person that reports gain or loss from the trade or business of fishing on the person's annual Federal income tax return for the taxable year that most closely corresponds to the marketing year with respect to which a petition is filed under section 2401a of this title.

(3) Contributed importantly

(A) In general

The term “contributed importantly” means a cause which is important but not necessarily more important than any other cause.

(B) Determination of contributed importantly

The determination of whether imports of articles like or directly competitive with an agricultural commodity with respect to which a petition under this part was filed contributed importantly to a decline in the price of the agricultural commodity shall be made by the Secretary.

(4) Duly authorized representative

The term “duly authorized representative” means an association of agricultural commodity producers.

(5) National average price

The term “national average price” means the national average price paid to an agricultural commodity producer for an agricultural commodity in a marketing year as determined by the Secretary.

(6) Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(7) Marketing year

The term “marketing year” means—

(A) a marketing year designated by the Secretary with respect to an agricultural commodity; or

(B) in the case of an agricultural commodity with respect to which the Secretary does not designate a marketing year, a calendar year.

 

§2401a. Petitions; group eligibility

(a) In general

A petition for a certification of eligibility to apply for adjustment assistance under this part may be filed with the Secretary by a group of agricultural commodity producers or by their duly authorized representative. Upon receipt of the petition, the Secretary shall promptly publish notice in the Federal Register that the Secretary has received the petition and initiated an investigation.

(b) Hearings

If the petitioner, or any other person found by the Secretary to have a substantial interest in the proceedings, submits not later than 10 days after the date of the Secretary's publication under subsection (a) of this section a request for a hearing, the Secretary shall provide for a public hearing and afford such interested person an opportunity to be present, to produce evidence, and to be heard.

(c) Group eligibility requirements

The Secretary shall certify a group of agricultural commodity producers as eligible to apply for adjustment assistance under this part if the Secretary determines that—

(1)(A) the national average price of the agricultural commodity produced by the group during the most recent marketing year for which data are available is less than 85 percent of the average of the national average price for the commodity in the 3 marketing years preceding such marketing year;

(B) the quantity of production of the agricultural commodity produced by the group during such marketing year is less than 85 percent of the average of the quantity of production of the commodity produced by the group in the 3 marketing years preceding such marketing year;

(C) the value of production of the agricultural commodity produced by the group during such marketing year is less than 85 percent of the average value of production of the commodity produced by the group in the 3 marketing years preceding such marketing year; or

(D) the cash receipts for the agricultural commodity produced by the group during such marketing year are less than 85 percent of the average of the cash receipts for the commodity produced by the group in the 3 marketing years preceding such marketing year;

(2) the volume of imports of articles like or directly competitive with the agricultural commodity produced by the group in the marketing year with respect to which the group files the petition increased compared to the average volume of such imports during the 3 marketing years preceding such marketing year; and

(3) the increase in such imports contributed importantly to the decrease in the national average price, quantity of production, or value of production of, or cash receipts for, the agricultural commodity, as described in paragraph (1).

(d) Eligibility of certain other producers

An agricultural commodity producer or group of producers that resides outside of the State or region identified in the petition filed under subsection (a) may file a request to become a party to that petition not later than 15 days after the date the notice is published in the Federal Register under subsection (a) with respect to that petition.

(e) Treatment of classes of goods within a commodity

In any case in which there are separate classes of goods within an agricultural commodity, the Secretary shall treat each class as a separate commodity in determining under subsection (c)—

(1) group eligibility;

(2) the national average price, quantity of production, or value of production, or cash receipts; and

(3) the volume of imports.

 

§2401b. Determinations by Secretary of Agriculture

(a) In general

As soon as practicable after the date on which a petition is filed under section 2401a of this title, but in any event not later than 40 days after that date, the Secretary shall determine whether the petitioning group meets the requirements of section 2401a(c) of this title and shall, if the group meets the requirements, issue a certification of eligibility to apply for assistance under this part covering agricultural commodity producers in any group that meets the requirements. Each certification shall specify the date on which eligibility under this part begins.

(b) Notice

Upon making a determination on a petition, the Secretary shall promptly publish a summary of the determination in the Federal Register, together with the Secretary's reasons for making the determination.

(c) Termination of certification

Whenever the Secretary determines, with respect to any certification of eligibility under this part, that the decrease in the national average price, quantity of production, or value of production of, or cash receipts for, the agricultural commodity covered by the certification is no longer attributable to the conditions described in section 2401a of this title, the Secretary shall terminate such certification and promptly cause notice of such termination to be published in the Federal Register, together with the Secretary's reasons for making such determination.

(d) Report by the Secretary

Not later than January 30, 2010, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives a report containing the following information with respect to adjustment assistance provided under this part during the preceding fiscal year:

(1) A list of the agricultural commodities covered by a certification under this part.

(2) The States or regions in which such commodities are produced and the aggregate amount of such commodities produced in each such State or region.

(3) The total number of agricultural commodity producers, by congressional district, receiving benefits under this part.

(4) The total number of agricultural commodity producers, by congressional district, receiving technical assistance under this part.

 

§2401c. Study by Secretary of Agriculture when International Trade Commission begins investigation

(a) In general

Whenever the International Trade Commission (in this part referred to as the “Commission”) begins an investigation under section 2252 of this title with respect to an agricultural commodity, the Commission shall immediately notify the Secretary of the investigation. Upon receipt of the notification, the Secretary shall immediately conduct a study of—

(1) the number of agricultural commodity producers producing a like or directly competitive agricultural commodity who have been or are likely to be certified as eligible for adjustment assistance under this part, and

(2) the extent to which the adjustment of such producers to the import competition may be facilitated through the use of existing programs.

(b) Report

Not later than 15 days after the day on which the Commission makes its report under section 2252(f) of this title, the Secretary shall submit a report to the President setting forth the findings of the study described in subsection (a) of this section. Upon making the report to the President, the Secretary shall also promptly make the report public (with the exception of information which the Secretary determines to be confidential) and shall have a summary of the report published in the Federal Register.

 

§2401d. Benefit information to agricultural commodity producers

(a) In general

The Secretary shall provide full information to agricultural commodity producers about the benefit allowances, training, and other employment services available under this subchapter and about the petition and application procedures, and the appropriate filing dates, for such allowances, training, and services. The Secretary shall provide whatever assistance is necessary to enable groups to prepare petitions or applications for program benefits under this subchapter.

(b) Notice of benefits

(1) In general

The Secretary shall mail written notice of the benefits available under this part to each agricultural commodity producer that the Secretary has reason to believe is covered by a certification made under this part.

(2) Other notice

The Secretary shall publish notice of the benefits available under this part to agricultural commodity producers that are covered by each certification made under this part in newspapers of general circulation in the areas in which such producers reside.

(3) Other Federal assistance

The Secretary shall also provide information concerning procedures for applying for and receiving all other Federal assistance and services available to workers facing economic distress.

 

§2401e. Qualifying requirements and benefits for agricultural commodity producers

(a) In general

(1) Requirements

(A) In general

Benefits under this part shall be available to an agricultural commodity producer covered by a certification under this part who files an application for such benefits not later than 90 days after the date on which the Secretary makes a determination and issues a certification of eligibility under section 2401b of this title, if the producer submits to the Secretary sufficient information to establish that—

(i) the producer produced the agricultural commodity covered by the application filed under this subsection in the marketing year with respect to which the petition is filed and in at least 1 of the 3 marketing years preceding that marketing year;

(ii)(I) the quantity of the agricultural commodity that was produced by the producer in the marketing year with respect to which the petition is filed has decreased compared to the most recent marketing year preceding that marketing year for which data are available; or

(II)(aa) the price received for the agricultural commodity by the producer during the marketing year with respect to which the petition is filed has decreased compared to the average price for the commodity received by the producer in the 3 marketing years preceding that marketing year; or

(bb) the county level price maintained by the Secretary for the agricultural commodity on the date on which the petition is filed has decreased compared to the average county level price for the commodity in the 3 marketing years preceding the date on which the petition is filed; and

(iii) the producer is not receiving—

(I) cash benefits under part 2 or 3; or

(II) benefits based on the production of an agricultural commodity covered by another petition filed under this part.

(B) Special rule with respect to crops not grown every year

For purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii)(II)(aa), if a petition is filed with respect to an agricultural commodity that is not produced by the producer every year, an agricultural commodity producer producing that commodity may establish the average price received for the commodity by the producer in the 3 marketing years preceding the year with respect to which the petition is filed by using average price data for the 3 most recent marketing years in which the producer produced the commodity and for which data are available.

(2) Limitations based on adjusted gross income

(A) In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, an agricultural commodity producer shall not be eligible for assistance under this part in any year in which the average adjusted gross income (as defined in section 1308–3a(a) of title 7) of the producer exceeds the level set forth in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 1308–3a(b)(1) of title 7, whichever is applicable.

(B) Demonstration of compliance

An agricultural commodity producer shall provide to the Secretary such information as the Secretary determines necessary to demonstrate that the producer is in compliance with the limitation under subparagraph (A).

(C) Counter-cyclical and acre payments

The total amount of payments made to an agricultural commodity producer under this part during any crop year may not exceed the limitations on payments set forth in subsections (b)(2), (b)(3), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of section 1308 of title 7.

(b) Technical assistance

(1) Initial technical assistance

(A) In general

An agricultural commodity producer that files an application and meets the requirements under subsection (a)(1) shall be entitled to receive initial technical assistance designed to improve the competitiveness of the production and marketing of the agricultural commodity with respect to which the producer was certified under this part. Such assistance shall include information regarding—

(i) improving the yield and marketing of that agricultural commodity; and

(ii) the feasibility and desirability of substituting one or more alternative agricultural commodities for that agricultural commodity.

(B) Transportation and subsistence expenses

(i) In general

The Secretary may authorize supplemental assistance necessary to defray reasonable transportation and subsistence expenses incurred by an agricultural commodity producer in connection with initial technical assistance under subparagraph (A) if such assistance is provided at facilities that are not within normal commuting distance of the regular place of residence of the producer.

(ii) Exceptions

The Secretary may not authorize payments to an agricultural commodity producer under clause (i)—

(I) for subsistence expenses that exceed the lesser of—

(aa) the actual per diem expenses for subsistence incurred by the producer; or

(bb) the prevailing per diem allowance rate authorized under Federal travel regulations; or

(II) for travel expenses that exceed the prevailing mileage rate authorized under the Federal travel regulations.

(2) Intensive technical assistance

A producer that has completed initial technical assistance under paragraph (1) shall be eligible to participate in intensive technical assistance. Such assistance shall consist of—

(A) a series of courses to further assist the producer in improving the competitiveness of the producer in producing—

(i) the agricultural commodity with respect to which the producer was certified under this part; or

(ii) another agricultural commodity; and

(B) assistance in developing an initial business plan based on the courses completed under subparagraph (A).

(3) Initial business plan

(A) Approval by Secretary

The Secretary shall approve an initial business plan developed under paragraph (2)(B) if the plan—

(i) reflects the skills gained by the producer through the courses described in paragraph (2)(A); and

(ii) demonstrates how the producer will apply those skills to the circumstances of the producer.

(B) Financial assistance for implementing initial business plan

Upon approval of the producer's initial business plan by the Secretary under subparagraph (A), a producer shall be entitled to an amount not to exceed $4,000 to—

(i) implement the initial business plan; or

(ii) develop a long-term business adjustment plan under paragraph (4).

(4) Long-term business adjustment plan

(A) In general

A producer that has completed intensive technical assistance under paragraph (2) and whose initial business plan has been approved under paragraph (3)(A) shall be eligible for, in addition to the amount under subparagraph (C), assistance in developing a long-term business adjustment plan.

(B) Approval of long-term business adjustment plans

The Secretary shall approve a long-term business adjustment plan developed under subparagraph (A) if the Secretary determines that the plan—

(i) includes steps reasonably calculated to materially contribute to the economic adjustment of the producer to changing market conditions;

(ii) takes into consideration the interests of the workers employed by the producer; and

(iii) demonstrates that the producer will have sufficient resources to implement the business plan.

(C) Plan implementation

Upon approval of the producer's long-term business adjustment plan under subparagraph (B), a producer shall be entitled to an amount not to exceed $8,000 to implement the long-term business adjustment plan.

(c) Maximum amount of assistance

An agricultural commodity producer may receive not more than $12,000 under paragraphs (3) and (4) of subsection (b) in the 36-month period following certification under section 2401b of this title.

(d) Limitations on other assistance

An agricultural commodity producer that receives benefits under this part (other than initial technical assistance under subsection (b)(1)) shall not be eligible for cash benefits under part 2 or 3.

 

§2401f. Fraud and recovery of overpayments

(a) In general

(1) Repayment

If the Secretary, or a court of competent jurisdiction, determines that any person has received any payment under this part to which the person was not entitled, or has expended funds received under this part for a purpose that was not approved by the Secretary, such person shall be liable to repay such amount to the Secretary, except that the Secretary may waive such repayment if the Secretary determines, in accordance with guidelines prescribed by the Secretary, that—

(A) the payment was made without fault on the part of such person; and

(B) requiring such repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience.

(2) Recovery of overpayment

Unless an overpayment is otherwise recovered, or waived under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall recover the overpayment by deductions from any sums payable to such person under this part.

(b) False statement

A person shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, be ineligible for any further payments under this part—

(1) if the Secretary, or a court of competent jurisdiction, determines that the person—

(A) knowingly has made, or caused another to make, a false statement or representation of a material fact; or

(B) knowingly has failed, or caused another to fail, to disclose a material fact; and

(2) as a result of such false statement or representation, or of such nondisclosure, such person has received any payment under this part to which the person was not entitled.

(c) Notice and determination

Except for overpayments determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, no repayment may be required, and no deduction may be made, under this section until a determination under subsection (a)(1) of this section by the Secretary has been made, notice of the determination and an opportunity for a fair hearing thereon has been given to the person concerned, and the determination has become final.

(d) Payment to Treasury

Any amount recovered under this section shall be returned to the Treasury of the United States.

(e) Penalties

Whoever makes a false statement of a material fact knowing it to be false, or knowingly fails to disclose a material fact, for the purpose of obtaining or increasing for himself or for any other person any payment authorized to be furnished under this part shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.

 

§2401g. Authorization of appropriations

(a) In general

There are authorized to be appropriated and there are appropriated to the Department of Agriculture not to exceed $10,400,000 for the 6-week period beginning January 1, 2011, and ending February 12, 2011, to carry out the purposes of this part, including administrative costs, and salaries and expenses of employees of the Department of Agriculture.

(b) Proportionate reduction

If in any year the amount appropriated under this part is insufficient to meet the requirements for adjustment assistance payable under this part, the amount of assistance payable under this part shall be reduced proportionately.