(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), applauded the announcement made by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the Asparagus Revenue Market Loss Assistance Payment Program (ALAP) will be implemented in the coming months. The ALAP, which Senator Murray included in the 2008 Farm Bill, provides $15 million in payments to domestic producers of asparagus to compensate for losses that were the result of imports between the 2004 and 2007 crop years.   

“This much needed assistance for Washington state’s asparagus growers is long overdue and couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said Senator Murray. “Between a tough economy and increased foreign competition, our asparagus growers are hurting. This program will assist these growers through difficult times and help them to maintain a stable and robust asparagus industry in our state and across the country.”

Today, the USDA began accepting comments on proposed rules to administer the program in an effort to help it better implement the program. Following the comment period, the USDA will release the final rules for the program and is expected to announce a 30-day application period during which individual applications to receive payment will be accepted.