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Tobacco meeting set this week

LINNVILLE – Informational meetings for tobacco farmers and tobacco base owners are in the works in order to expedite a cost-share program offered by the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation.

Sunday, January 06, 2002

LINNVILLE – Informational meetings for tobacco farmers and tobacco base owners are in the works in order to expedite a cost-share program offered by the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation.

A meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Lawrence Soil and Water office in Linnville from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

This pilot program is a cost-share situation offered by the SOACDF that will reimburse tobacco farmers and quota owners 75 percent, or up to $2,500, of construction costs of fencing and handling facilities for production of meat animal livestock. The cost share can be used for fence, corrals, chutes, tubs, head gates, gates and other items that are designed to either be portable or fixed. The fencing or handling system is only to be used to contain production livestock.

The SOACDF was created by the state legislature under Senate Bill 192. The bill stipulates that the organization "shall endeavor to replace the production of other agricultural products and to mitigate the adverse economic impact of reduced tobacco production in the region by preparing, implementing, and keeping current a plan to develop means for tobacco growers to grow other agricultural products voluntarily."

Ohio ranks seventh nationally in tobacco production, but accounts for only 1.63 percent of the total national market.

Production in the state has dropped from 22 million pounds in 1998 to 14 million pounds in 1999 and seven million pounds in 2000. Part of the drop is due to lower quotas set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on tobacco. The state is using federal monies to supplement the loss farmers take on tobacco sales.

Information meetings will also be held on Jan. 10 at Buckeye Hill Career Center in Rio Grande from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and at South Gallia High School in Mercerville from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.