Flue-cured tobacco growers have a decision to make. They are being asked to vote on Wed., Jan. 23, whether to continue the grower assessment that fund export promotion and expansion activities by Tobacco Associates, Inc., or to end their funding for those programs.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services notes the amount of the assessment will be one-fifth of 1 cent per pound of flue-cured tobacco that is sold. The assessment, if agreed to, will be in effect for the 2013 through 2015 marketing years.
"The future of flue-cured tobacco production in North Carolina depends on the continued growth of international markets," says N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Through the assessment, growers are investing in their futures."
The voting will take place in N.C. Cooperative Extension offices in counties where flue-cured tobacco is grown in the state. Any tobacco farmer who is at least 18 years old and was engaged in the production of flue-cured tobacco during the 2012 crop year is eligible to vote.
According to USDA, North Carolina's tobacco exports had a value of $460 million in 2011.
Tobacco Associates is located in Raleigh. It is a grower-financed organization that focuses on promoting and expanding international markets for U.S. Flue-cured tobacco. Recent projects have focused on developing markets in Hungary, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The association maintains a website. It highlights high profile initiatives from Tobacco Associates, including flue-cured promotion, product development, flue-cured marketing and grower outreach.
Tobacco Associates notes it can arrange study missions so individuals can learn more about tobacco. These meetings can focus on farm, government and/or industry leaders. Tobacco Associates can also organize classroom education on flue-cured tobacco utilizing instructors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These instructors can discuss tobacco on a number of levels, including tobacco analyses and methods of selectivity.