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@NCCapitol

Tobacco buyout money safe from sequester

Posted January 7

Tobacco field, farmwork

— Federal payments to tobacco farmers won't be affected by any across-the-board federal budget cuts, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of North Carolina's congressional delegation on Monday.

The second round of sequestration is set to take effect Jan. 15 unless Congress can reach a new budget deal.

Several members of North Carolina's delegation have lobbied the USDA for months to exclude the Tobacco Transition Payment Program from the process, arguing that it is funded by fees paid by tobacco companies and not tax revenue.

The TTPP is part of a settlement the government reached with tobacco farmers in 2004, when the tobacco quota and price support system was eliminated. The government promised to provide farmers with annual payments through 2014 to ease the transition to the free market.

Vilsack informed the delegation members that, although the payments are considered a "budgetary resource" under the sequester, the USDA and the Office of Management and Budget have agreed that funds sequestered last year will be made available to tobacco farmers this year and that a final payment will be made in the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts in October.

"I am so pleased that, after hearing from me and my colleagues about the damage subjecting these payments to sequestration would do, USDA and OMB have agreed to prevent reductions to TTPP payments for small tobacco farmers in North Carolina and across the country that depend on these payments to provide for their families and make ends meet," U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said in a statement.

8 Comments

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  • Prayer starts with P Jan 10, 12:17 p.m.

    cooldela1966 Jan 9, 9:37 a.m.

    "NC tobacco land would be great for growing marijuana. NC needs to legalize now."

    You'd think, but apparently the state that was #1 (or maybe #2 behind KY) in growing the deadly crop of tobacco, is too pious and moral to allow the growing of marijuana.

  • cooldela1966 Jan 9, 9:37 a.m.

    NC tobacco land would be great for growing marijuana. NC needs to legalize now.

  • ginalee1968 Jan 8, 4:28 p.m.

    http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=toba&topic=landing

  • ginalee1968 Jan 8, 4:18 p.m.

    These comments just prove how much the public doesn't know what is going on. Tobacco buyout payments are NOT paid by taxpayers dollars. Use google and go back to 2004 and read about the Tobacco buyout program and you will learn that these payments are made by the tobacco industry. The USDA just administers the program to send payments to these people.

  • thomasew52 Jan 8, 12:22 p.m.

    More hogwash from our representatives. This is the result of a congress that is; and has been for a long time, out of control at our expense. We have allowed this to happen by electing giveaway hirelings to Congress, who have no idea what the average person trying to make a living faces. Very sad indeed.

  • mikeyj Jan 7, 4:15 p.m.

    All while screwing with my Veteran benefits that I have "earned" because of active duty service. Our lawmakers need shot for this crud.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 7, 3:29 p.m.

    So for ten years we, the taxpayer, have been paying farmers to "ease" them to the free market? What about other businesses? Where is their money? Why do tobacco farmers get the golden egg? Sounds like farm "welfare" to me. If they want to make money, let em grow something that sells. Isn't that the attitude about people on government assistance? Let em work and earn it themselves instead of everyone else paying for it. Where are those comments today on this? They pop up every time we talk about unemployment benefits or any other public help.

  • kennylogginscousin Jan 7, 1:35 p.m.

    I know people who got wealthy off of the buyout.

    As Sen. Hagan takes credit for this, just remember that the hypocrisy runs deep. Talk about making the rich richer. The Dems' populist talking points don't fit this story.