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Growers Wishing to Apply for TAA Must Attend

To be eligible for monetary and training assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, Idaho's fresh-market potato growers must register at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office by June 27 and attend free, half-day technical assistance workshops that will be offered by University of Idaho (UI) Extension this summer.

The first seven of these UI workshops have been scheduled for the afternoon of June 27 in Nampa, the morning of June 28 in Twin Falls, the afternoon of June 28 in Burley, the morning of June 29 in Pocatello, the afternoon of June 29 in Blackfoot, the morning of June 30 in Idaho Falls and the afternoon of June 30 in Rexburg.

Paul Patterson, UI Extension economist and workshop coordinator, said two additional classes will be held sometime in August in the Magic Valley and eastern Idaho for growers who aren't able to attend one of the currently scheduled workshops.

The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service determined this spring that 2003 Idaho potato prices were negatively impacted by Canadian French fry imports. According to Keith Esplin of Potato Growers of Idaho, which filed the successful petition for fresh-market growers, this declaration made producers eligible for a cash benefit of 3-1/2 cents per cwt. – up to $10,000 – for all potatoes not sold for frozen fries or seed. Producers who qualify also can obtain advanced technical assistance and a maximum of two years of approved retraining and education benefits.

The scheduled half-day workshops will cover integrated pest management, production management and farm financial management.

"The focus is to try to make potato-growing operations more sustainable from both a financial and a production aspect," Patterson said.

For more details about the workshops or to register for one of them, call the UI's District IV Extension office in Idaho Falls at (208) 529-8376 or write to jhughes@uidaho.edu. Although pre-registration is not required, Patterson said growers should call first to ensure that space will be available.

Originally posted Thursday, Jun. 9, 2005

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