Tobacco Letter that was sent to all my Govt. Representatives including the President- Larry K. Roe, 10/25/00 08:14 AM
My name is Larry K. Roe co-own a farm with my brother in law Robbie Bohanan in Clark County, KY. We bought our farm a few years ago and it has fulfilled a life time dream for both of us, seeing that both our fathers had only been tenant farmers all their lives and Tobacco is what helps us pay our farm payment. We have raised a consistent pound base of 33,000 pounds for the last few years, but have seen our quota shrink from 13,000 to 4,500 pounds. So this means we currently lease in about 28,000 pounds.
I am writing this in response to the Tobacco companies stance for reworking the Quota based and price support systems that are currently in place for Tobacco. I agree with their stance on making the US tobacco farmer competitive to world growers of our crop, and if we do not do this or Tobacco will be lost to the third world country's to grow. The Quota system as we now know it mostly serves people that do not grow the crop giving them .60 to .75 cents a pound for a crop that they have never touched, leaving the farmer with a very small profit margin. A simple fix to this is still base the amount of tobacco on what the companies plan to buy, but put the Quota's into hands of the Farmers and Farms that grow the crops currently not what has been based over the last 70 years. The FSA offices already knows the amount of tobacco grown on each farm by each farmer, and they also know who has leased their poundage. Base the quotas on what is being grown today by the actual farmers and what the companies guarantee they will buy. After the quota system is reworked the leasing system should only allow a short term of 2 years to lease or sell your base.
The current quota system must immediately be reworked. The quotas that currently exist should be bought out by the government by using Senator Fords plan that was proposed 2 years ago.
With the Quota system reworked the price support system can be reworked to meet the tobacco companies in the middle so to speak on prices, this will allow the farmers to still make a profit. The tobacco companies can go out and buy tobacco for minimum price from third world country's but it is not near the quality they get from American Farmers and the import fees add to their cost. I believe with the growing markets for tobacco in overseas country's that growing Tobacco can thrive in the future in our United States.
The people that want to do away with Tobacco totally should visit Jamestown, VA sometime and realized that the crop of Tobacco is what kept the English settlers from retreating back to England starving and broke. I Challenge you as my government representatives to do everything you can to rework a currently broke tobacco system and put the quota's and prices in line so everyone can live with the results.
Thank You for Your Time.
Larry K. Roe
209 Sandlewood Pointe
Winchester, KY 40391