Local News

Tobacco Growers Get Boost From State Senators

Posted February 27, 2003 3:51 a.m. EST

— Thousands who hold tobacco-related jobs in North Carolina hope Washington will put more money in growers' pockets.

They want a tobacco quota buyout.

Thursday, the North Carolina Senate added its voice to the national debate.

A letter sent to all 15 members of the State's Congressional Delegation calls for action on the National Tobacco Buyout this year.

the Letter states that a buyout would provide a significant and needed economic stimulus over a period of time.

Signed by all 50 senators, the letter was the idea of Johnston County Sen. Fred Smith.

"All the information we have is that this is the year to get it done," Smith said. "We want to lend our voice and support to getting it done this year."

The buyout would compensate farmers and growers, as well as $6 billion to the state's economy.

"We hope that our congressional delegation will figure out a way they can pay the people who have these allotments now," Smith said. "Buyout the farmers and allotment holders."

The letter is the strongest step that the North Carolina Senate can take in influencing the tobacco settlement in Washington.

The Senators admit it's like preaching to the choir. But they want to stress to our representatives from North Carolina that the state's economy will be in dire straits without the tobacco settlement.

A spokesman for tobacco growers applauded the senate action, saying that nothing is more significant than achieving this buyout.