Farm Quota Debate

By: Stephanie Stang
By: Stephanie Stang

Farmers from all over Kentucky met in Cave City. Congressman Ron Lewis held a meeting to discuss the current debate over quota buyout. It's an issue that goes back for many years but may be changing very soon.

Mike Bellamy farms more than one thousand acres of tobacco in Barren County. Right now he makes about $1.20 per pound. That takes into account the $0.80 he pays per pound for a quota lease along with fertilizer, labor, land, and many other things.

Quota is something farmers must buy from the federal government in order to grow tobacco. Right now some farmers say the federal government should buy back the quota because its not working as well as it used to.

Currently there are three quota bills being considered in the house. Most farmers are supporting the McIntyre Bill. Congressman Ron Lewis says in simple terms the McIntyre Bill ends the quota program. It also will pay farmers $8 to $4 per pound for quota depending on the year it was bought.

Farmers say the demand for tobacco has gone down along with the quota amount.

Bellamy says he will be happy if quotas are eliminated because he will not be paying that extra money to grow tobacco.


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