To the editor:
A recent article headlined that Tobacco buyout money is still leading Harrison County farm subsidies is totally misleading to area farmers and taxpayers.
The payments are for the repeal of the price support and quota program, not a subsidy.
Subsidy is defined as aid directly granted by government to be deemed beneficial to the public.
The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) was established to assist tobacco quota holders and producers in the transition to free market. It ended the tobacco quota program in exhcange for payments which are fundd entirely by assessments on tobacco manufacturers and importers. The TTPP repealed marketing quotas, and price support programs whch had been in effect since 1938 in exchange for the payments.
Payments made to farmers over the 10 year period all come from the Tobacco Trust Fund. The Trust Fund revenues are generated by assessments on tobacco manufacturers and importers. No tax dollars are used for these payments.
In addition direct commodity payments are primarily issued to the producers of the crop, not the landowner.
I would also question why no information was obtained from the Farm Service Agency. After all that is the office responsible for administering these programs. Perhaps the article could have included accurate subsidies to Harrison County producers.
With misleading information of subsidies being printed in a rural area, how can farmers possibly defend themselves in metropolitan areas?
I would also question the purpose of listing the top 10 recipients of payments. These payments were not a salary or bonus, they were based on the amount of hard work they were willing to perform and the risk they were willing to take.