[Federal Register: October 23, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 205)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Farm Service Agency
President's Commission on Improving Economic Opportunity in
Communities Dependent on Tobacco Production While Protecting Public
AGENCY: Farm Service Agency, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of Commission Forums.
SUMMARY: Executive Order 13168, published September 22, 2000,
established the President's Commission on Improving Economic
Opportunity in Communities Dependent on Tobacco Production While
Protecting Public Health (Commission). The Commission is to advise the
President on changes occurring in the tobacco farming economy and
measures as may be necessary to improve economic opportunity and
development in communities that are dependent on tobacco production,
while protecting consumers, particularly children, from hazards
associated with smoking. This notice announces forums to be conducted
by the Commission on November 9, 2000, to be held in Raleigh, NC, and
on November 10, 2000, in Louisville, KY. Both forums will be held to
seek comments on tobacco and health related issues the Commission
should consider in issuing its Reports to the President. The Commission
may also hold additional forums and meetings. If it does, they will be
announced. The forums are open to the public.
This notice also announces that the Commission will make its
Preliminary Report to the President available on the Commission's web
site, www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom by no later than December 31, 2000, to
solicit further public review and comment prior to issuance of the
Commission's Final Report.
DATES: The Commission will conduct forums on November 9, 2000, from 9
a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Kerr Scott Building--NC State Fairgrounds
(exit 289 off I-40), Raleigh, NC, and on November 10, 2000, from 9 a.m.
until 3 p.m. at the Executive West Hotel, Queen Scott Room, 830
Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY (across from KY Fair and Exposition
Center). All times are Eastern Standard Time.
Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or
participate in this meeting should contact Doug Richardson, on 866-804-
6698 (toll free) or 202-418-4266, Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-
8339, or Internet: www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom, by COB at least 7 days
prior to the appropriate meeting.
Comments: Forums: Oral comments will be taken and should be limited
to no more than 5 minutes unless prior approval has been received from
the Commission for a longer presentation. Two hard copies of oral
testimony should be presented to the Commission prior to presentation.
Hard copies of other suggestions or recommendations to be considered by
the Commission will also be accepted. The public is also invited to
submit comments, suggestions, and recommendations for consideration by
the Commission to their web site, www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom.
Preliminary Report: The Commission's Preliminary Report to the
President will be posted to the Commission's web site by no later than
December 31, 2000. The public is invited to respond and/or to submit
comments, concerns, and issues with respect to the Preliminary Report
for consideration by the Commission no later January 22, 2001.
ADDRESSES: Written comments and statements not submitted to the
Commission at the forums may be sent to Doug Richardson, Executive
Director, The Tobacco Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0574, Washington, DC 20250-0574 by no
later than January 22, 2001.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doug Richardson (202) 418-4266 or toll
free (886) 804-6694; FAX (202) 418-4270; Internet: www.fsa.usda.gov/
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the Commission is to advise
the President on changes occurring in the tobacco farming economy and
recommend such measures as may be necessary to improve economic
opportunity and development in communities that are dependent on
tobacco production, while protecting consumers, particularly children,
from hazards associated with smoking. The Commission shall collect and
review information about changes in the tobacco farming economy and
Federal, State, and local initiatives intended to help tobacco growers,
tobacco quota holders; and communities dependent on tobacco production
pursue new economic opportunities. The Commission may make
recommendations concerning these and any other changes and initiatives
that may be necessary to improve economic opportunity in communities
dependent on tobacco production. The Commission shall also consider the
public health implications of such changes and initiatives, including
the efforts to reduce the number of people who incur tobacco-caused
diseases and tobacco-related health consequences in the United States
In January 1998, the public health community and the tobacco
producing community came together and agreed on a ``Core Principles
Statement''. These communities agreed to work together in a spirit of
cooperation and with a commitment towards (1) reducing disease caused
by tobacco products, and (2) ensuring the future prosperity and
stability of the American tobacco farmer, the tobacco farm family, and
tobacco farming communities. The full text of this Statement may be
found on the Commission's web site www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom. The
Commission's work will build on these Core Principles in view of recent
tobacco program developments.
In addition to your views and thoughts regarding the issues for
which the Commission was established, as set forth above, the
Commission is interested in your input and suggestions on the following
questions and issues:
1. Over the past 3-years, burley and flue-cured tobacco quotas have
been reduced by 65 percent and 45 percent, respectively. Recently,
quotas for other kinds of tobacco subject to a production control
program have either not been reduced or not reduced as drastically.
What do you believe is the main reason or reasons for this downward
trend in quotas? Do your believe the downward trend is due to short-
term factors or is it likely to continue? What are the implications for
tobacco producers if the only way to curtail the downward trend is to
match world tobacco prices?
2. In addition to quota reductions, tobacco producers have
experienced significant production and marketing changes including
contracting and concentration of production into fewer hands. What are
the economic consequences of these actions for tobacco producers and
their communities in your area? What Federal, State, or local
initiatives regarding diversification of agricultural production have
worked well in your community? What changes to existing initiatives or
new initiatives do you recommend? How is your State using funds from
the National Tobacco Settlement (Phase I) to assist tobacco producers
and their communities and to deter tobacco use? What role, if any,
should the Federal or State government play in contracting of tobacco
3. What Federal, State, or local initiatives have worked well in
your community in efforts to prevent tobacco use, including youth
tobacco use? What initiatives have been a detriment to preventing
tobacco use, including youth tobacco use?
4. The Core Principles Statement provides, in part, that a tobacco
production control program which limits the supply and which sets a
minimum purchase price is in the best interest of the public health
community and the tobacco producer community. Should there be a program
that controls tobacco production and/or provides price supports? If so,
should the government be involved? If yes, what program changes, if
any, are needed to improve economic conditions for tobacco producers
and their communities? Are current USDA programs, other than tobacco,
helping or hurting tobacco producers and their
communities deal with economic losses?
5. If the tobacco production control program is terminated by
either producers voting in a triennial referendum or by legislative
repeal, what do you see as the consequences to tobacco producers and
tobacco dependent communities? If the tobacco production control
program is eliminated, what health related consequences, if any, do you
see occurring? In the absence of a tobacco control program, what
initiatives should be taken to help maintain a level playing field for
independent tobacco producers?
6. Based on the many internal and external factors affecting the
tobacco program, do you feel that a buyout of production quotas and
elimination of the tobacco production control program is a viable
solution? If a buyout is a solution, should it be mandatory for all
quota holders, tenants and producers or voluntary, with some form of
tobacco production and price support program remaining in place? If a
buyout is a solution, at what rate per pound should the compensation be
7. Small farms in the South have declined drastically over the past
10 years, with tobacco now being produced on approximately 85,000
farms, most being small farms. The reduction in tobacco quotas has
added to the decline in small farms. Since many small farms are owned
by African-American farmers and thus tobacco producers, to what extent
do civil rights concerns, economic and rural conditions combine to
further increase economic problems in tobacco dependent communities?
What impact have recent changes in the economies of tobacco had on farm
workers in tobacco dependent communities? What initiatives currently
address farm workers economic and social needs created by this
situation? What new initiatives are needed in this area?
8. What additional measures should be taken to prevent tobacco use,
particularly by young people, and to help reduce disease caused by
Signed at Washington, DC, on October 18, 2000.
Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
[FR Doc. 00-27221 Filed 10-20-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P