Director of Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy Testifies in Washington at USDA Buyout Meeting
Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher demonstrated his commitment to Kentucky’s farmers today by directing Keith Rogers, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, to represent the Commonwealth at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of the more than 160,000 Kentucky tobacco growers and quota owners who are anticipating the receipt of a Phase II payment at the end of this year.
“It is essential that Kentucky’s farmers receive the Phase II payments so many of them need in order to provide for their families and make an effective transition into the post buy-out agricultural economy,” stated Governor Ernie Fletcher.
The primary concern of this hearing for Kentucky tobacco growers and quota owners are the Phase II payments for 2004. In 2003, 159,618 Kentucky tobacco growers and quota owners received over $127 million. The Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Trust Corporation has completed the application process for the 2004 Phase II payments and 161,543 Kentucky tobacco growers and quota owners are expecting to receive over $124 million at the end of 2004. These individuals and farm families rely heavily on annual Phase II distributions from the Trust for their financial and tax planning, including their mortgage payments, accounts payable, college tuition and operating loan payments for this 2004 crop year.
Governor Fletcher continued, “We believe it was certainly the intention of Congress to provide our tobacco farm families with a financial compensation plan in return for the loss of the tobacco quota system. The language in the Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act clearly states that it is to begin with the 2005 Tobacco Crop Year which has not yet begun. Therefore, Kentucky’s farmers are entitled to these payments.”
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