USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Lobstermen

TAA for Maine Lobstermen

End-of-Project Update:

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) for lobstermen in Maine has come to a close. The federally-funded program began in September, 2010, in response to a petition filed by the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) and the Sea Grant offices in ME, NH, MA, RI and CT, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of the lobster industry. The petition successfully proved that foreign imports of lobster in 2009 had negatively affected prices and production of lobster in New England.

The goal of the TAA program in Maine was to provide training to help lobstermen create business plans, increase profitability, improve efficiency, consider marketing opportunities, and evaluate alternative enterprises. Lobstermen who signed up to take part in the process were required to complete twelve hours of training, then meet with a business counselor to draft a business plan.
Over two years, Maine Sea Grant, the MLA and their partners in the region organized hundreds of educational workshops for lobstermen, their wives or partners and sternmen, traveling throughout the northeast to facilitate the workshops.

TAA Program Summary for Maine

Total of participants enrolled:  2432
Total who started training:  2143
Total who completed trainings:  2095
Total who completed initial business plan:  2086
Total who completed full program:  1904
78% completion rate
Financial support distributed = ca. $12.1 million

TAA Program Summary for the Northeast:

Total who completed initial business plan: 3203
Total who completed full program: 2698
Financial support distributed = ca. $17.4 million


Update - Summer 2012

It's the busy season again, and at the moment, no in-person workshops are scheduled for the TAA program, although more will be coming in the future.  TAA participants are reminded that the program ends in September of 2013 - and that you should plan to have your workshop time and initial business plan done by May or June of 2013.  This will give you enough time to complete the in-depth business plan by the deadline. Given the prices of lobster this summer, and the competitive nature of the industry, why not get some extra business training, and get paid for doing it?

For a story on some TAA participants who got a real benefit from being in the program, click HERE.

For those who are not in the program but still want to learn about the information that's being delivered - you can either contact us, or find all the workshops on line, at:

http://www.taaforfarmers.org/Courses.aspx


Update, September 15, 2011
TAA Payments to the Maine Lobster Industry are Under Way

Payments to TAA participants have finally started, for those who have completed Phases 3 and/or 4 of the TAA program.  Participants should check their bank statements, as payments are direct-deposited.

Initial payments will be approximately $971.00, and payment for completion of Phase 4, the in-depth business plan, will be approximately $1942.00. These amounts are smaller than the earlier projections, as extra funds were held back initially to cover applicant travel costs.  It is likely that a third payment will be forthcoming for those who complete all phases of the program, after the end of the present TAA period, in September of 2013.

While the drop in payments is disappointing and frustrating for all involved here on the ground in Maine, please remember that the TAA program was primarily designed for the training and business developments first, with the financial assistance offered secondarily.  Non-TAA participants can access all the educational workshop materials as well, at: http://www.taaforfarmers.org/Courses.aspx

Click HERE for a letter from the USDA, explaining the reduction in payments and the reasons why.


Background on the USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance Program

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA) of the US Dept. of Agriculture is a training and financial assistance effort, designed to help agriculture and fisheries producers who have experienced revenue decreases, and negative impacts from foreign imports.  In 2010, applications to the TAA program were made on behalf of lobstermen in ME, NH, MA, RI and CT; these applications were approved in late September, enabling lobster license-holders in these states to enroll in the program. 

Over 2600 fishermen, spouses and sternmen were entered into the program in Maine alone, and orientations were completed as of March 23, 2011.

Workshops are currently being held, as listed above.  Lobstermen should RSVP to attend one of the scheduled meetings, and should arrive 30 minutes early to complete registration. To RSVP, provide full name, town, phone number, email, and date and location of the meeting being attended. Please RSVP only once to:

LobsterRSVP@gmail.com

or by calling one of the following contacts:

April Gilmore, Maine Lobstermen's Association, 207.207.967.4555
Dana Morse, Maine Sea Grant/University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 207.563.3146 x205

Supporting Documents


Maine Farm Service Agency County Offices:

Cumberland/York County

306 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-883-0159 ext 2

Androscoggin/Sagadahoc County

254 Goddard Rd, Lewiston
207-753-9400 ext 2

Knox/Lincoln County

191 Camden Rd, Warren
207-273-2002 ext 2

Waldo County

266 Waterville Rd, Belfast
207-338-1964 ext 2

Hancock and Penobscot Counties

1423 Broadway, Bangor
207-947-3555 ext 2

Washington County

89 Court St, Machias
207-255-3612

Kennebec County

21 Enterprise Drive, Augusta 207-622-7847 x2
Maine State FSA Office
967 Illinois Ave, Bangor
207-990-9100 ext 2