Participating tobacco farms in Northeast Tennessee's 1st Congressional District will get about $12.5 million in 2007 tobacco buyout payments, U.S. Rep. David Davis announced Monday.
In a prepared release, the Johnson City Republican said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency has authorized local FSA offices to release the payments to farmers.
The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), also called the "tobacco buyout," helps tobacco quota holders and producers transition to other farm products.
"The payments should be in the hands of 1st District farmers in a few business days," Davis said. "I am excited that there will be more money for farmers who have participated in the TTPP program. The 1st District has a long tradition of tobacco farms. I grew up on a small tobacco farm. I know how important farms are to the livelihood of many in East Tennessee."
The Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform Act of 2004 was originally sponsored by Davis' predecessor, retired U.S. Rep. William L. "Bill" Jenkins of Rogersville, and signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 22, 2004. The legislation ended the Depression-era tobacco quota program and established the TTPP.
The program provides annual transitional payments for 10 years to eligible tobacco quota holders and producers. TTPP payments began in 2005 and continue through 2014.
Payments are funded through assessments of approximately $10 billion on tobacco product manufacturers and importers, according to the USDA.