Trade Adjustment Assistance training leads to more than $2M in direct payments to AL, MS shrimpers
Producers in the U.S. shrimp industry are experiencing economic hardships because of rising production costs and competition from imported shrimp causing many shrimpers to be forced into leaving the industry. In order for the domestic fishery to remain viable, producers need to learn how to reduce operating costs and get more money for their catch. In 2010, the Southern Shrimp Alliance successfully petitioned for shrimp harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) to be considered an eligible commodity for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers program in FY2010. Nearly 4,000 members of the shrimping industry from throughout the eight states applied to participate in the FY2010 TAA program.
Before becoming eligible for cash benefits, each producer must receive 12 hours of TAA Intensive Technical Assistance and develop an initial business plan that will help them become more competitive in the world marketplace. In 2011, 22 3-hour TAA workshops were conducted on topics designed to increase the global competitiveness and economic levels of Gulf and South Atlantic shrimpers. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant outreach personnel developed training modules, help industry members fill out forms and paperwork, and assisted with workshop advertisement, logistics, and facilitation. More than 750 commercial fishermen from Alabama and Mississippi participated in the TAA workshops.
In Alabama and Mississippi, 789 shrimpers each received 12 hours of Intensive Technical Assistance under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Shrimpers, making each eligible for $4,000 in cash benefits. So far, this totals $3,156,000 in additional earnings for these producers, which will increase as more applicants complete the training requirements.
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium outreach was instrumental in helping shrimpers obtain training and cash benefits under the USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. For more information on this program, visit www.taaforfarmers.org. (2014)