Tobacco farmers need state help - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tobacco farmers need state help

December 15, 2003

Tifton - Georgia tobacco farmers hope Governor Sonny Perdue gets the message. They need financial help to stay in business.

Tobacco farmers have lost more than 55 percent of their quota in the past five years. A buyout plan would pay farmers billions of dollars to stop growing tobacco.

On Monday, at least 300 tobacco growers and quota holders met in Tifton to ask Congressmen Johnny Isakson and Mac Collins about the future of tobacco farming.

Tobacco Growers Association of Georgia President Lamar DeLoach has pleaded for financial help from the state. He says, "Prior Governor Barnes for three years gave 39 million dollars that kept us farmers in business. We're asking Sonny Perdue, the governor now, to do the same thing. We went as far as saying this is how you can fund it and we're willing to help you do that."

Isakson and Collins are in favor of a tobacco buyout program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reduced production by 46 percent since 1998 and is expected to order another 22 percent cut for the 2004 crop today.

posted at 6:00 PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com