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USDA changes tune on tobacco buyout

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reversed course and announced that final payments of the Tobacco Transition Payment Program — otherwise known as the “Tobacco Buyout” — will be made in full.

The USDA had earlier announced they would be reduced due to sequestration, a move that drew immediate protests from a number of Virginia legislators and Virginia Farm Bureau, including Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Va.).

“I was pleased to hear that the USDA came to the correct determination that final payment for the Tobacco Transition Payment Program will be made in full,” said Hurt.

“It is clear that the program should not be subject to sequester cuts – it is funded entirely by private dollars, and its sole purpose is to help farmers during a difficult transition period at no expense to the taxpayer.

“After advocating on behalf of 5th District farmers to the federal agencies involved with the decision, I am glad to see that they reversed their decision and are doing right by the American taxpayers and our tobacco farmers.”

All aspects of the federal tobacco marketing quota and price support loan programs ended when President Bush signed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 in October of that year.

That legislation included the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform, otherwise known as the “Tobacco Buyout.” 

TTTP payments were first made from June to September 2005, with subsequent payments in succeeding years issued annually in January but no later than Sept. 30.