Tobacco buyout and GAP training

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The rumor mill has been swirling these past few months about the final tobacco buy-out payment to producers. Late last year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that tobacco buyout payments would be subjected to a 7.2% sequestration this year. However, Senator McCon-nell contacted Agri-culture Secre-tary Tom Vilsack and Office of Manage-ment and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell identifying a provision within the Budget Control Act that would allow quota holders to receive full payment. “I am pleased that the USDA agreed to provide our farmers with the full final payment amount that they need and deserve, and that Kentucky farmers will not lose the money that was promised to them in the settlement,” Senator McConnell said.
The latest information I have received is as follows: (1) Financial institutions will be made by Jan 15th (that’s because of the interest scenario). (2)  For producers -- it’s likely to be 95% up front (Jan/Feb), and the rest in FY 2015 (hopefully as close to Oct 1 as possible).  If you haven’t received your payment yet, don’t worry, it will be coming soon.
Tobacco Production and GAP Training
There will be a Tobacco Production and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) meeting on February 21, 2014 at the Shelby County Cooperative Extension Service office in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The program will start at 10:00 AM and conclude at noon.
Growers are encouraged to visit www.gapconnections.com prior to the meeting to register for your Grower ID. This will allow for faster processing of your meeting attendance.
What is the Grower ID System? The Grower ID System is a secure database of tobacco growers involved in the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program. The system, by assigning a unique ID number to each grower, will help growers easily keep track of and share their GAP training history with potential companies. Instead of a grower’s GAP efforts being tracked only through their current contracting companies, growers will have their GAP information follow them from year to year regardless of marketing company.
Benefits of the Grower ID and GAP Connections membership include: Grower ID card for scanning at GAP trainings for easy tracking of attendance, Online access to their grower profile and GAP training history, Easy way to share their GAP efforts with member companies, Bi-annual GAP Connecons electronic newsletter, Voice in the U.S. Tobacco GAP standard setting process, and Access to training calendar and many online grower resources.
This educational progam also meets training requirements for producers who apply for (CAIP) County Agriculture Investment Program cost-share.
To register for the tobacco meeting, call the Shelby County Extension Office at 502-633-4593 or email Corinne Belton, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources at corinne.belton@uky.edu.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.
Michael Pyles is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture.