[Federal Register: February 6, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 25)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings,
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents
appearing in this section.
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 preliminary report publication, request for comments,
and notice of meeting.
SUMMARY: Executive Order No. 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). This notice announces that the
Commission's Preliminary Report has been published, that comments are
requested on the Preliminary Report, and that a public meeting will be
conducted by the Commission on February 21, 2001. The purpose of the
meeting will be to review comments received on the Preliminary Report
and recommendations from a tobacco working group and others in
preparation for work on the Final Report.
DATES: The Commission will meet on February 21, 2001, from 9:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. at 2101 L Street, NW, Room 303A, Washington, DC. If special
accommodations are required, please contact Doug Richardson, at the
address specified above, by COB February14, 2001. All times are Eastern
Standard Time. Comments on the Preliminary Report are requested through
March 8, 2001. Comments may be submitted through the website at http://
www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom/, by fax, or by mail to the Commission at the
contact information listed below. All meetings are open to the public;
however, seating is limited and available on a first-come basis.
Written comments may be filed with the Commission before or after the
meeting at the contact information listed below. Copies of the
Preliminary Report are available on the Commission's website at http://
www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom/ or by contacting the Commission's office at
the contact information listed below.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Doug Richardson, Executive Director,
Tobacco Commission, United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA),
1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 0574, Washington, D.C., 20250-0574
or telephone (202) 418-4266 or toll free (866) 804-6698; FAX (202) 418-
4270; Internet: email@example.com.
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 collected and
reviewed 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 received public input
through two public forums, its website, written comments and experts in
tobacco farming, tobacco health issues, and economic development. After
reviewing all input, the Commission issued its Preliminary Report
regarding the economic situation facing tobacco producers and tobacco
dependent communities. As set forth in the Report, the Commission has
made no final recommendations but has established the following
principles to guide its future deliberations:
(a) The Commission's recommendations should promote both the public
health and the economic security and stability of tobacco farmers and
(b) Both short-term and long-term assistance are warranted for
family tobacco farmers and their communities because of two factors:
(1) the dramatic reduction in the purchase of U.S. tobacco leaf in
recent years as the result of a complex set of trends that are both
long term and global in nature, and (2) past Federal policies which
have led many tobacco farmers to a heavy, if not total, reliance on
this crop and way of life.
(c) The preservation of a tobacco program that controls supply,
maintains price, moves quotas into the hands of growers, and
incorporates health and safety protection is in the best interests of
tobacco farmers and the public health.
(d) Solutions to the problems facing tobacco farmers should protect
family farms, of which a significant number are small farms and owned
(e) Policies should be adopted to ensure that any system of direct
contracting between manufacturers and U.S. tobacco farmers does not
undermine the protections for family farms and the public health that
are provided by the tobacco program.
(f) Any tobacco program changes should focus on long-term solutions
to the problems facing tobacco farmers, not short-term quick fixes.
(g) Tobacco farmers should be compensated for their quota at a fair
and equitable value in order to address their current crisis and reduce
their dependency on tobacco, an action which is in the best interests
of the tobacco producing and the public health communities.
(h) Economic development assistance to tobacco producing
communities is in the best interests of tobacco farmers, their
communities, and the public health community. The Commission should
consider the broadest range of economic actions to assist tobacco
farmers, tobacco farm families, and their communities in promoting
their prosperity, stability, and way of life during this period of
(1) Locally driven assistance to tobacco producing communities for
economic redevelopment and diversification,
(2) Support for the growth of supplemental crops (particularly
those utilizing specialized tobacco farming skills) and livestock and
the infrastructure necessary to produce, process, develop new markets,
and bring these commodities to market; and
(3) Continued research into the development of non-harmful uses of
(i) The American tobacco farmer and the public should be protected
unfair foreign competition. For example, increased and expanded
inspections for non-approved pesticides on imported tobacco are in the
best interest of tobacco growers, their communities, and the health
(j) More needs to be done to prevent the harm caused by tobacco and
this has been acknowledged by some tobacco product manufacturers.
Comprehensive programs, such as those suggested in the August 2000
Report of the Surgeon General, to reduce tobacco use and the harm
caused by tobacco should be adopted by both the public and private
sector with a special emphasis on the problems facing tobacco growing
(k) Tobacco should be regulated. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) should have authority to establish fair and
equitable regulatory controls over the manufacture, sale, distribution,
and labeling of tobacco products, comparable to regulations established
for other products regulated by the FDA. Such regulations should have
as their goal the protection of public health. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) should retain its authority to set safety standards
governing tobacco farms.
(l) Measures to fund the recommendations of the Commission must be
reliable, long-term, and consistent with the best interests of both
tobacco farming communities and the public health.
In its December 5, 2000, meeting, the Commission established a
tobacco working group comprised of tobacco producers, farm
organizations, and health community representatives to study further
changes needed in the tobacco program and to propose recommendations to
be considered by the Commission.
The Preliminary Report requests public input on a number of issues.
This notice solicits recommendations on these issues or on any other
issues pertinent to the Commission's charge. Copies of the Preliminary
Report are available on the Commission's website at http://
www.fsa.usda.gov/tobcom/ or by contacting the Commission's office at
the contact information listed above. The purpose of this meeting is to
review public input received to date on the Preliminary Report and to
review the report from the tobacco working group and others in order to
begin preparation of the Final Report to the President.
Signed at Washington, D.C. on February 1, 2001.
James R. Little,
Acting Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
[FR Doc. 01-3120 Filed 2-2-01; 10:41 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P