Dec 12 2007

Cantwell: Working to Protect Washington State Asparagus Growers

Trade is Crucial For a Healthy Economy; Producers Should Have Resources They Need to Compete in Global Marketplace

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) helped defeat Republican leadership's attempts to strip the Asparagus Market Loss Program from the 2007 Farm Bill.  The Asparagus Market Loss Program would provide $15 million to compensate asparagus growers for industry losses as a result of the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.  Washington is ranked second in the nation in the production of asparagus.
 
“I will continue to fight for our farmers who grow Washington’s apples, cherries, wheat and asparagus,” Cantwell said.  “It is of the utmost importance to make sureour farmers are able to compete in the global marketplace.  Washington farmers contribute a great deal to our state and national economy and we must provide them with the tools and resources they need to invest in new and efficient technologies.”
 
The Asparagus Market Loss Program would provide $15 million to compensate domestic asparagus growers in Michigan, Washington and California for the loss to their industry caused by trade. This program is based on a similar market loss program for apples and onions in the 2002 farm bill.  Market loss funds will be used to offset costs to domestic asparagus producers to plant new acreage and invest in more efficient planting and harvesting equipment.
 
Cantwell lead the effort, with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), to defeat the amendment offered by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH).   
 
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