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Tobacco growers still concerned

Ohio’s tobacco growers voted in February to continue marketing quotas, but they face several other industry issues this year.

Friday, March 09, 2001

Ohio’s tobacco growers voted in February to continue marketing quotas, but they face several other industry issues this year.

"There are still concerns about what the future holds," said Jim Herrell, director of the Gallia-Lawrence Farm Service Agency.

Congress is debating a buyout of tobacco quota, which will effectively be a redistribution from those who own quota to those who grow it, Herrell said.

Another concern is cross-county tobacco leasing – also recently approved.

Many farmers still have questions about what affect the cross-county leases will have on rates and what out of county farm competition will mean economically, Herrell said.

The state of Ohio also continues to discuss the use of tobacco settlement money.

The tobacco industry is facing changes, and both agencies and farmers are waiting on answers to questions about those changes, Herrell said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that quota remains in effect for the 2001, 2002 and 2003 marketing years.

A mail referendum held Feb. 12-16 shows burley tobacco growers voted to continue marketing quota on a poundage basis, the USDA said.

Results show that 135,022 of the 138,587 producers who voted in the referendum, or 97.4 percent, voted to approve quotas.

In Ohio, 4,851 growers favored continued quotas while 201 did not.

A vote of at least two-thirds in favor was necessary to continue poundage marketing quotas.

In the last referendum, held February 1998, 95.51 percent of the voting growers favored marketing quotas on a poundage basis for the 1998, 1999 and 2000 marketing years.

Burley tobacco is grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Further quota program information is available from Misty Jones at the USDA by telephone at 202-720-0200 or via email at misty_jones@wdc.fsa.usda.gov