Tobacco Transition Program Payment End this Month

Tobacco Transition Program Payment End this Month

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This month the final tobacco buyout payment will be disbursed. Blake Brown, Professor and NC State Extension Ag Economist describes what the buyout did for agriculture in tobacco states:

“The money did a lot for NC farmers as well as the state of NC. It will have put $9.6 billion into rural economies that were tobacco dependent. For farmers, it allowed them to invest into e-ventures, expand their current operations, pull down their debt and also a lot of tobacco farmers who were planning to retire and use their quota as retirement income, it has allowed them to have an income.”

As for changes due to the end of the buyout, Brown says he doesn’t anticipate a problem:

“Its important to remember that people have anticipated this. When we anticipate a big change we usually adjust to it ok. Hopefully people have planned accordingly. While the money will be missed hopefully there will not be a crisis.”

In the big scheme of things, 10 years isn’t a long time in the agriculture world. Brown describes the changes to agriculture in the buyout states in the 10 years of the buyout:

“The main way it changed it was by de-regulating tobacco. Tobacco production was restricted by county and you could only move limited amounts in the state. When they eliminated that control, we saw a lot of movement in production, lots of consolidation of operations and some farmers who moved away from tobacco and some that started into it. North Carolina expanded it production of flu-cured tobacco after the buyout.”

As far as the buyout creating more diversity in crops, Brown explains acres may have shifted, but the diversity is about the same:

“North Carolina in particular has a very diverse agricultural economy. I do not know that it increased the diversity, we just had some farmers that dropped tobacco and others that added it. States like Kentucky that did see some consolidation I don’t think that they have much change in diversity either.”

Dr. Blake Brown NC State professor and extension Economist.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.