A major item on the agenda when the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina holds its Annual Meeting is the adoption of resolutions for the year. At this year's Feb. 5 meeting held during the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, the group approved 35 such resolutions relating to the way the tobacco business is conducted in North Carolina and in the United States.
Here are some standout declarations adopted by the group for 2010 in TGANC's own words:
• Recognizing that North Carolina is a "right to work" state, we oppose any regulations or sanctions that would cite labor union membership as an absolute requirement for any agricultural laborer, regardless of that worker's citizenship status.
• We continue to support the Bush Administration Department of Labor regulatory changes for the existing H-2A Guest Worker Program that became effective on Jan. 16, 2009.
• We oppose detrimental federal intervention, lawsuits and other unwarranted attacks on a legal industry. We recognize that tobacco is a legal commodity representing an extremely large amount of international trade; therefore we insist that all agencies and individuals representing the U.S. in an area of trade be allowed to promote the high quality, comparative U.S. tobacco.
• We oppose any future increase in the state or federal excise tax on tobacco products.
• We are concerned that essentially no new funds are allocated by the Agricultural Research Service of USDA for tobacco research. We believe this is discriminatory to tobacco farmers and specifically request that additional funds be allocated for regional research on tobacco based upon the enormous tax contribution this industry makes to our government budgets. This is especially true as we await FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulatory authority.
• We request that NCDA (North Carolina Department of Agriculture) devise a method to forecast intended planting and actual planting acres of tobacco for each current crop year.
• We are opposed to legislation and regulation that would restrict when and where adults choose to smoke.
• We request that the Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA refrain from acting in a discriminatory manner with respect to the approval for labeling of pesticides for use on tobacco.