Farmers anxious for decision on tobacco buyout

September 22, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

A tobacco buyout plan has yet to move forward and has farmers on edge as they await the next step.

The purpose of the buyout is to eliminate the current federal tobacco quota and price support programs, and make compensation payments to quota owners and transition payments to active growers.

The bill is included within the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004," which was originally written as a corporate tax overhaul bill. The House and Senate versions are different in the way they affect the buyout program.

The Senate's version would cost $12 billion with a payout over five years, while the House version totals $9.6 billion over 12 years. Some other differences involve whether to link the appropriations to the Food and Drug Administration, whether to have post-buyout production controls, and geographical limits on future production.


The next major step is the announcement by House leadership on who will be appointed as conferees to the bill. Because of the differences in the two versions, a legislative committee must be formed between the House and Senate with an equal number of representatives from each. The committee will offer a compromise. The Senate made its appointments prior to the August recess.

Mike Carter, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Garrard County, has spoken with local farmers about the buyouts and their frustrations.

"Of course they're going to be more in favor for the Senate bill, since the payout is a greater amount. But there's a lot of doubt in their minds that this will happen anytime soon - it's been like a carrot dangling in front of them when there's this little pot of gold out there to get to."

Many opinions against FDA involvement

Carter said they first got word of the buyout about six years ago. Since the development of the two versions, there have been many opinions voiced against the FDA being involved.

That may be exactly where the federal issue is now as well. Many feel that most of the attention will be on whether the FDA involvement is approved when the conference committee finally does meet.

"I would say there will be quite a bit of press coverage on the tobacco buyouts alone, and this bill has so many more components to it. But the FDA involvement is just that big of a deal," Carter said.

Will Snell, an agricultural economist with the University of Kentucky, has been following the fate of the bill closely by attending the hearings in Washington, D.C., and also talks directly to the local farming communities.

"Farmers are frustrated that this has been dragging on for so long," he said. "They would rather not have the FDA involved because that would mean further involvement in their farming down the road. Both bills make it clear that the FDA cannot dictate growing practices, but its involvement would affect manufacturers, which would indirectly impact farming practices."

Snell also said he feels like the farmers are ready to do what it takes to get the bill moving.

Kentucky produces two-thirds of the burley tobacco sold in the United States. Other large producers are Georgia and the Carolinas.

There are many Web sites with more information on the tobacco buyout proposal, as well as a listing per state of the recipients' names and the amounts they would receive.

Top ten recipients

Following are a list of the top ten recipients of tobacco buyouts, listed by county.

Boyle County: Woodie Leavell, Danville, $486,823; Caverndale Farms, Danville, $390,875; Elwood King, Danville, $336,773; Wendell Morris, Danville, $323,577; Jeanette Germann, Danville, $294,805; T.L. Rankin, Danville, $285,931; Barry Carrier, Danville, $284,118; Hundley Farms, Perryville, $268,617; Germann Farm, Danville, $266,742; Charlotte Henson, Danville, $264,545.

Casey County: Vallard Goode, Liberty, $614,167; Billy Joe Cutter, Hustonville, $386,351; Greg Rogers, Liberty, $275,222; Baughman and Peyton Inc., $245,258; Lina Wells, Liberty, $214,076; Charles Watts, Hustonville, $210,633; Charles Workman, Liberty, $191,281; Danny Helm, Bradfordsville, $164,694; John W. Cox, Bradfordsville, $153,246; David McKinney, Liberty, $146,713;

Garrard County: Mitchell Lamb, Paint Lick, $589,465; William Kirby Teater, Lancaster, $461,949; G.B. Shell, Lancaster, $441,360; Roy W. Davis, Lancaster, $358,646; Ann Teater, Lancaster, $308,236; Teater Brothers Inc., Lancaster, $278,959; John Shields, Lancaster, $264,928; James K. Stamper, Stanford, $251,762; Crace Angus Farm, Lancaster, $222,147; John King, Lancaster, $201,098.

Lincoln County: Bluegrass Farms & Woodlands Llc., Stanford, $467,076; Roy Lee Reichenbach, Stanford, $431,829; Raymond Reynolds, Crab Orchard, $419,942; Robert T. McCormack Jr., Stanford, $298,092; Charles Hackley, Stanford, $208,845; Eddie Reynolds, Crab Orchard, $192,962; Melissa Helton, Crab Orchard, $187,678; George Day, Crab Orchard, $182,148; Arthur Gafney Jr., Crab Orchard, $159,337; Joyce C. Buis, Waynesburg, $155,745.

Mercer County: Ralph Anderson, Harrodsburg, $999,480; Freeman Farm Paternship Ltd., Harrodsburg, $870,566; Davis & Riney, Harrodsburg, $642,956; Shakertown At Pleasant Hill Inc., Harrodsburg, $528,662; Baker Kirkland & McGlone Inc., Harrodsburg, $414,003; John W. Landrum, Harrodsburg, $413,638; Kenneth Kirkland, Harrodsburg, $291,400; Donnie Tyler, Harrodsburg, $269,110; Eddie Horn, Harrodsburg, $266,165; K.C. Falls, Salvisa, $243,846.

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