Sub-committee recommendations - Will E. Clark, 3/19/01 9:49AM  

The Western Dark Fired Tobacco Growers Association, which represents dark air cured and dark fire cured tobacco would like to offer the following views on the Preliminary Report of the Presidentís Tobacco Commission

We have stressed and stress again that "dark type" tobaccos are different than burley and flue tobaccos. There is a good relationship between dark tobacco growers and the dark tobacco manufacturers and our types are not cigarettes. The preliminary report leads no one to any other rational thought than "tobacco is tobacco". We would hope the commission would come to understand there is a difference in types of tobacco and the communities they are grown in.

Our Association strongly supports a quota buyout that would pay a reasonable price to quota owners and put the quota in the hands of growers with a continued price support program. The preliminary report with recommendations for a burley and flue cured buy out has several recommendations we cannot support.

We strongly do agree that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should not be allowed to regulate tobacco production. Moreover, we strongly oppose granting any new regulatory authority with respect to tobacco products without strong safeguards to guarantee that such authority is exercised reasonably and cannot be used to achieve outright or back-door prohibition. As established in numerous government reports, illegal youth usage of smokeless tobacco products is low and decreasing.

Above all, our growers want to grow tobacco for adults and believe that adults have the right to purchase and consume traditional tobacco products.

Our dark tobacco industry is very small and many producers and companies are struggling to make ends meet. Additional costs to the dark industry will not improve economic opportunities for dark tobacco farmers. The Commission should strongly recommend that assistance for tobacco growers be included in any proposals made by the President or the Congress for how to spend the budget surplus.

There are other technical issues we question but will not address at this time. We would expect to have the opportunity to have input to any legislation that might start to move through the congress.

Thank you for this opportunity to make our views known to the commission.



Will E. Clark

General Manager